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My Early Life. A Roving Commission.
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My Early Life. A Roving Commission.

Published: London: Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1930

Stock code: 106056

Price: £5,000

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition, first impression. Presentation copy from Churchill, inscribed on the blank before the half-title: “Roger Keyes from Winston S. Churchill. March 1931”. A significant association: Roger John Brownlow Keyes, first Baron Keyes (1872-1945) was a British naval officer whose career spanned two world wars and who is described by ODNB as “the quintessential man of action”. There is a good potted biography of him in relation to Churchill in Eugene L. Rasor’s Winston S. Churchill, 1974-1965: A Comprehensive Historiography and Annotated Bibliography (2000, p. 169): “If there was one naval officer who was a protégé of Churchill, it was Roger Keyes. Keyes, at age 13, entered the navy, participated in the anti-slave trade patrol, was at the Dardanelles, favoured a second naval attack, remained an apologist for Churchill and the campaign, led the Dover anti-U-boat patrol, led the Zeebrugge operation at the end of the war, served in Parliament for Portsmouth North, made a dramatic speech in full uniform at the time of the debate on the Norwegian campaign, and was appointed, and soon removed, by Churchill as Director of Combined Operations, replaced by Mountbatten. He was loyal but unpredictable”. My Early Life is Churchill’s first volume of sustained biography, a highly entertaining account of his childhood, schooldays at Harrow, military training at Sandhurst, experiences as a war correspondent in Cuba, service attached to the Malakand field force on the northwest frontier of India, charging with the 21st lancers at Omdurman, and as a POW in South Africa during the Boer War.

Octavo (210 x 131 mm). Late 20th century scarlet full morocco by Bayntun-Riviere, decorative gilt tooled and panelled spine, single-line gilt border on sides, facsimile of Churchill’s signature in gilt on front cover, all edges gilt, decorative gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, with the original purple cloth covers and spine bound-in. Frontispiece and 15 plates from photographs, maps and plans. A handsomely bound copy.

Bibliography: Cohen A91.1.c; Woods A37(a).

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