New York and London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1942. First Edition. Wraps. [HISTORY] [WWII]. A.W. Rushmore, format. H.W. Wolf Book Mfg. Co, manufacturer. First edition, October printing. 8vo; vi , 32pp; stiff blue wrapper with flaps, front flap price “60 cents”; set in Linotype Baskerville; light age-toning of wrapper edges, light creasing to bottom corner through all leaves; housed in a custom clamshell, quarter bound in blue linen with green and white patterned paper, gilt-stamped black calf title on spine; near fine in fine slipcase. Near fine. Item #1260
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s (1892-1950) epic poem about the Nazi destruction of the Czechoslovakian town of Lidice in June of 1942. The Writers’ War Board, a group of American writers who offered their talents to the U.S. government to foster the war effort during WWII, commissioned Millay to immortalize the atrocities committed in murdering the town and wiping it from the map. Adolf Hitler ordered the town’s annihilation after the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich by Czech and Slovak forces operating with the cooperation of the British and the Czech government-in-exile. Powerful and moving, the poem aimed to alert the world and was used as pro-war propaganda for U.S. involvement in the war effort. Upon publication the poem was broadcast on national radio, printed in its entirety by Life Magazine and released on vinyl by Columbia Records as a 33-record narrated by Basil Rathbone, a chorus of voices and the opera singer, Blanche Yurka.