Step By Step 1936-1939.
"To His Royal Highness, The Duke of Windsor, from Winston S. Churchill, June 1939" First Edition of Winston S. Churchill's Step By Step 1936-1939; Inscribed by Him to King Edward VIII in the month of publication
Step By Step 1936-1939.
CHURCHILL, Winston S.
Item Number: 119578
London: Thornton Butterworth Ltd, 1939.
First edition of this Churchill title, the last book he published before the outbreak of the Second World War. Octavo, specially bound for the Duke of Windsor by Lucie Weill in three quarters morocco over marbled boards, gilt titles, crowned cipher of the Duke of Windsor on the lower label, with two maps. Association copy, inscribed by Winston S. Churchill to King Edward the VIII, on the page preceding the half-title page in the month of publication, “To His Royal Highness, The Duke of Windsor, from Winston S. Churchill, June 1939.”
When Edward’s father ascended the throne as George V after the death of Edward VII, Edward the VIII automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester a month later on 23 June 1910, his 16th birthday. The lives of Edward and Churchill, first intersected at this time, when as Home Secretary, it fell to Churchill to read out the Letters Patent that invested the Prince with his new title during the ceremony at Caernarvon Castle. Predictably, Churchill found this a moving occasion, and thought “the little Prince looked & spoke as well as it was possible for anyone to do,” noting in a letter to Clementine that “he was a very nice boy—quite simply & terribly kept in order.” When Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty shortly after the investiture, he became a hero to the newly-installed Prince of Wales, who had been a naval cadet. Churchill’s vigorous emphasis on sea power appealed to the Prince, who wrote of Churchill: “He is a wonderful man and has a great power of work.” Writing to Clementine, Churchill indicated that he and the Prince “have made rather friends.”
Unfortunately, as he got older Edward’s womanizing and reckless behavior and attitudes put a strain on the relations between Churchill and himself for a time. When Edward’s father, George V died in early 1936 and Edward became king, his relationship with a married woman, Wallis Simpson, was known to those in power. When King Edward VIII chose to marry Simpson, Churchill, although he initially opposed any marriage between the King and Mrs. Simpson, felt a natural sympathy for the King, and believed that the solution was a morganatic marriage. Under this plan, Mrs. Simpson would become the Duchess of Cornwall but not Queen. The Cabinet, however, did not approve; neither did the Dominions. Churchill’s only hope then became that the King would see reason, accept his duty as Sovereign, and give up Mrs. Simpson, which Edward would not agree to. Churchill finally helped the King in writing his abdication speech. This book was given to Edward, now titled the Duke of Windsor while they were living abroad in France shortly before the beginning of World War 2. A wonderful association copy between the former Prime Minister and the former King of Great Britain. In near fine condition. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box with the crowned cipher to the front panel.
The final book Churchill published before the outbreak of the Second World War, Step by Step contains 82 letters written fortnightly between 1936-1939 regarding British Foreign Policy and Defence, many of which contain early warnings and predictions about the threat of Nazi Germany. Churchill states in his preface, "When I came to read the letters through I was surprised to find that they seemed to tell the tale of these three eventful and disastrous years in a continuous flow. They are at once a running commentary upon events as they happened or were about to happen, and a narrative of what we have lived through. I therefore thought it would be right to present them to the readers of Great Britain, the Unites States, France and Scandinavia in this volume and its translations which I trust may be accepted as a faithful record."