Miller, Alice Duer. The White Cliffs

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New York: Coward-McCann, 1940.  First edition, 6th printing.

Signed, dated and inscribed by Miller to her "dear friend and collaborator", composer Jerome Kern.

Slight tanning to gutters of end papers, otherwise a fine, fresh and unread copy in a very good or better dust wrapper, tanning to the spine and with a few closed edge tears.

Jerome Kern was one of the most important American theatre composers of the early 20th century, writing more than 700 songs, used in over 100 stage works, including such classics as "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "A Fine Romance", "The Song Is You", "All the Things You Are", "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Long Ago (and Far Away)".  Kern and Miller collaborated on Roberta, the Broadway musical adaptation of Miller’s novel Gowns by Roberta.  Running for 295 performances between 1933 and 1934, Roberta featured the now classic song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and starred Bob Hope as well as Sydney Greenstreet (who later appeared in the Maltese Falcon and Casablanca) and Fred MacMurray.

Few books were hotter on both sides of the Atlantic than The White Cliffs in 1940.  Selling nearly one million copies – an unheard of number for a book of verse – and influencing political thought during the U.S.’s entry into World War II, the book tells the story of an American girl coming to London as a tourist, meeting and marrying a young upper-class Englishman in the pre- WWI period, and deciding to remain in England with their young son after he is killed on the front. 

The story concludes as WWII commences, and she worries that her son, like his father, will be killed fighting for the country he loves. The poem ends with the lines:

...I am American bred

I have seen much to hate here – much to forgive,

But in a world in which England is finished and dead,

I do not wish to live.

The book was broadcast and recorded by British-American actress Lynn Fontanne and the story was made into the 1944 film The White Cliffs of Dover.