Winston S. Churchill, The Official Biography, Volume VIII, Never Despair, 1945-1965, inscribed by the author to "indefatigable Churchill literary assistant" Denis Kelly
Price: 950.00 USD
London: William Heinemann Ltd, 1988. This is the British first edition of the final volume of Churchill's Official Biography, an important association copy inscribed by the author to "indefatigable Churchill literary assistant" Denis Kelly. The seven-line inscription inked in blue on the front free endpaper reads: "To Denis - | who made such a marvelous | contribution, both to his books | and to mine - | from | Martin | 12th July 1988". Denis Kelly (1916-1990) served during the Second World War first in the Surrey and Sussex Yeomanry and then in the Indian Mountain Artillery in India and Burma (1941-45). Though he was called to the bar in 1942, after the war Kelly joined Churchill's literary team, first as an archivist, then as a literary assistant on Churchill's war memoirs. On 14 May 1947, Churchill met the young barrister at Chartwell. Showing Kelly a cellar "stacked from floor to ceiling" Churchill tasked him thus: "Your task, my boy, is to make Cosmos out of Chaos." Kelly approached the task with not only diligence and competence, but no small reverence: "I realised that I was handling the personal papers of a man who had experienced and shaped the history of the world in the last fifty years..." (Gilbert, Vol. VIII, p.331.) Ultimately, Kelly's assistance went far beyond organization of Churchill's papers. Kelly became a vital part of Churchill's literary team for the rest of Churchill's productive life as an author, not only assisting with The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, but also preparing the abridged, one-volume Memoirs of the Second World War (published 1959). Churchill's 10,000 word epilogue to Kelly's abridgement proved his last original writing for a book publication. Kelly's papers, including correspondence with Sir Martin Gilbert, now reside in the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge. The Official Biography of Winston Churchill was initiated by his son Randolph Churchill (1911-1968) but completed by Martin Gilbert (1936-2015). British first editions of the eight main text volumes were published between 1966 and 1988. This final volume covers the last twenty years of Churchill's life - 1945 to 1965, including all the years Kelly worked closely with Churchill. Kelly figures prominently throughout the book, with 60 individual references to him in the index. This volume's events span the period from Demobilization in late 1945, when Churchill was Leader of the Opposition, through his second Premiership (1951-1955) into a time when Churchill passes "into a living national memorial" of the time he has lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he has served. Volumes I-V of the British first edition were bound in red cloth with red topstain and solid color dust jackets. Volumes VI-VIII were issued by the publisher in two different options - one with a different color binding, no topstain and an illustrated dust jacket and one with red cloth binding, red topstain and a solid color dust jacket. This inscribed association copy is the publisher's illustrated dust jacket issue, very good plus in a near fine dust jacket. The khaki color binding is square and tight with sharp corners, bright spine gilt, and only minor wear to extremities. The contents remain bright with just a trivial hint of soiling and spotting confined to the page edges. The only previous ownership marks other than the author's inscription are the words "(Kelly - see p.1409)" in pencil just below the first line of the author's inscription and the words "See inscription by the author, inside front cover." Inked just below Dennis Kelly's highlighted name in the Index at p.1409. Whether these comments are in Kelly's hand or that of someone else we are unable to determine. The dust jacket remains clean and complete, with an unclipped front flap and only light wear at the spine ends and corners. The dust jacket is protected with a removable, archival quality clear cover. Bibliographic reference: Zoller A301h. First edition.