Winston Churchill

Lucky Find: Winston Churchill’s The Second World War

November 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm , by

IMG_1560This morning’s scene: Crowded commuter train about to enter the tunnel leading to Grand Central Terminal. I notice a lanky casually dressed 25-year-old intently reading a big blue hardcover; he is so caught up in the book that he seems oblivious to the crush around him. Instantly I want to know what it is that he is reading—it must be good. So I inch my way forward until I can look over his shoulder: Voila, he is reading The Gathering Storm! I am amazed, since The Gathering Storm is the first book in Sir Winston Churchill’s six-volume opus The Second World War (Houghton Mifflin; hardbound, 1948 first edition), which I had just picked up in its entirety in near-mint condition at an estate sale for $40 along with a few other choice hardbacks. So I reach into my bag to show him my copy of The Gathering Storm (I am already about a third of the way through it) and ask why it is that his version is so much bigger than mine. He looks at it and at me and says in reply: “This is sci-fi/fantasy, man; you got the wrong book . . .

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