Storia [A History of the English-Speaking Peoples], Signed by Winston S. Churchill, First Italian Editions, in Four Volumes, 1956-1959

Churchill, Winston S. Storia [A History of the English-Speaking Peoples]. Verona, Italy: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1956-1959.  First Italian Editions. In 4 volumes. Signed by Churchill in Volume II. Text in Italian. Illustrated from photographs, maps and diagrams. In the publisher's cloth boards with gilt titles and original  illustrated dust jackets. All four volumes are held in a new, archival cloth slipcase. 

Presented are the first Italian editions of Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, so titled as Storia. Published in Verona, Italy, by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, this four volume work has the publication dates of 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959 and is issued in the publisher’s original boards and illustrated dust jackets. This set is signed in Volume II on the half-title page by Churchill and was previously owned by Emery Reves, Churchill’s close friend and literary agent who contributed greatly to orienting the work toward a wider international audience. 

Winston Churchill spent many years working on his A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He began writing while out of Parliament in the years just before the outbreak of WWII and already had over 500,000 words written by the time Germany invaded Poland. His writing went on hold for sixteen years until after his second premiership. The four volumes span from Caesar’s Invasion of Britain to the beginning of WWI. 

Volume I, The Birth of Britain focuses on the birth of the British state. Volume II, The New World, tells the story of one of Britain’s most turbulent political periods. Volume III, The Age of Revolution, describes Britain’s rise to a world power and Volume IV, The Great Democracies, covers the rest of British history until the outbreak of The First World War. Churchill outlines the long and complicated British history, including the creation of a constitutional monarchy, the parliamentary system, various wars, and important leaders that all impacted the path Great Britain took as a nation. 

Emery Reves (1904-1981) was a freelance journalist and enterprising owner of an independent press service called the Cooperation Press Service and Publishing Company, known for its strong anti-Nazi stance. Early in 1937, Reves befriended Winston Churchill and made him an irresistible offer to place Churchill’s articles on current world events in major newspapers across Europe. Churchill agreed to grant Reeves syndication rights and so began a profitable business relationship that grew over time into an enduring and close friendship. 

When Churchill was elected Prime Minister, Reves helped build up the British propaganda organization in both North and South America, arguing that the principles of non-intervention were "principles of a lost world, which lead every nation to the abyss" (Martin, 2009). Reves allowed Churchill’s many opinions about Nazi Germany and rearmament of the democracies to be published and read in newspapers across the globe.

After the war, Reves purchased the rights to publish Winston Churchill's war memoirs and his four-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples outside Britain. Using his intimate knowledge of foreign markets, Reves was able to help adapt Churchill’s more anglophone conception for wider audiences. Churchill wrote of how, “[Reves] has had lengthy telephonings with French, German, Italian and Scandinavian publishers, showing what they want for their editions”(Gilbert, 1997).  Acting as both agent and editor, Reves made Churchill one of the highest-paid authors of nonfiction in the twentieth century, thanks to the exceptional international network he had developed since the 1930s.


Very good condition overall. Four volumes, in the original publisher’s boards and dust jackets. Jackets lightly worn with creasing, with recent repairs to some splits to folds and chipping along edges. New mylar applied to dust jackets, for extra protection. Signed by Winston Churchill on the half title page of Volume II, in black ink. Signature is legible. Interior pages are healthy, with only marginal age-toning to paper. Volumes include numerous maps, diagrams and photographs. 

Presented with a new, archival cloth slipcase, with a photograph of Churchill inlaid on front, above an embossed facsimile signature.

Slipcase dimensions: 8 3/4" H x 6 1/2" W x 6" D. Book (varies) dimensions: 8 3/8" H x  5 3/4" W x 1 1/2" D.