It was a decade of conflict and change. A world war sent the world into turmoil and yet the 1940s witnessed the publication of books that are still talked about today.

There was George Orwell’s thought-provoking tale of social justice, Nineteen Eighty-Four (published in 1949), Ernest Hemingway’s iconic take on the Spanish Civil War, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s poetic Le Petit Prince (1943), the most important French book of the 20th century.

The decade also saw the publication of Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, How to Trade in Stocks by Jesse Livermore (still worth reading today for any would-be trader), Native Son by Richard Wright and Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler. Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, Erle Stanley Gardner, Rex Stout and Carson McCullers were all bringing out books. The headlines in the newspapers might have made for grim reading during the decade but the books being placed on shelves had staying power.

First editions from the 1940s penned by these famous names are often priced at four figures and upwards. But there are many other fascinating first editions from this decade that are more affordable. Enjoy our selection of first editions from the 1940s.