Mrs. Miniver

New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1940

8vo, pp. 288. Original red boards, lettered in gilt on spine. Light offsetting to endpapers, but a tight, near fine copy in a very good dustwrapper, spine faded, with small chips to head of spine (not affecting text) and lower leading edge.

First edition, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR IN THE YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 'To ---- with best wishes Jan Struther 4th Feb. 1940'.
Jan Struther had begun supplying homely, hokey columns about the rural life of Mrs. Miniver to The Times newspaper in 1937. As war approached, the columns took on a darkening tone. An early piece is called The First Day Of Spring; a later one is called Gas Masks. By the time MGM picked up the rights, the material's context and power had changed out of all recognition.
Filmed by William Wyler in 1942, and starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, Mrs. Miniver was the highest-grossing movie of the 1940s. (Gone With The Wind made more money, but was released in 1939). It's possible to argue -- and a film student in search of a thesis probably has -- that Mrs. Miniver enabled the Allies to win the Second World War. Set in a Hollywood version of rural Britain, all rose gardens, tea cakes and straw-chewing rustics, the film tells the story of an unassuming housewife who one day finds herself confronting a German pilot who has parachuted into her garden. As the war closes in on the previously idyllic village, its population bands together to defy the Nazis.
Audiences flocked to the film, and Winston Churchill declared its propaganda value to be '...more powerful to the war effort than the combined work of six military divisions.' President Roosevelt ordered Mrs. Miniver to be rushed into cinemas, where it singlehandedly consolidated American public opinion behind direct US involvement in the war.
A superior, inscribed copy of a genuinely 'important' book.

Keywords: Jan STRUTHER"

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