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Article: A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill

18th century

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples by Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill spent many years working on his A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, which he began writing in the years just before the outbreak of WWII. He had written over 500,000 words by the time Germany invaded Poland, and continued writing for 16 years until after his second premiership. It was not until the mid-1950s, when Churchill was in his early 80s, that he was able to finish his work.

The four volumes span centuries, starting with Caesar’s Invasion of Britain in 55 BCE and concluding with the Second Boer War in 1902. He outlined the long and complicated British history including the creation of a constitutional monarchy, the parliamentary system, various wars and revolutions, and important leaders that all impacted the path Great Britain took as a nation.

Similar to his The Second World War, some critics claimed that his English-Speaking Peoples was a subjective point of view of history. However, Churchill himself says in his preface, "This book does not seek to rival the works of professional historians. It aims rather to present a personal view on the processes whereby English-speaking peoples throughout the world have achieved their distinctive position and character." Churchill was praised by many for the work, being that he himself had become somewhat of a living record of history.

The British first editions were published in 1956-1958, all by Cassell & Company Ltd. out of London. The dust jackets are especially striking: each featuring different colors and illustrations on the lower half of the faces and spines.  Volume I features The Bayeaux Tapestry, Volume II The Woburn Abbey portrait of Elizabeth I and an early world map, Volume III Stanfield's Battle of Trafalgar and Trumbull's Declaration of Independence, Volume IV Winterhalter's Queen Victoria and the Royal Family and Healy's The Peacemakers, featuring Lincoln and his military commanders. Shop these collectible books, or browse our selection of Churchill works here.

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