The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Most history books are dry, Larson's read like a novel and the facts will astound you. This is a well researched powerful story beginning on Churchill's first day of being Prime Minister: the same day Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland. We follow Churchill for the next 365 days and examine his actions under a microscope, including insight into family life and how he needed to convince Roosevelt to enter a war the American public refused to be involved in. How he was able to change the course of history by trying to combat a madman and his cohorts. Churchill was not always reasonable or even nice, in fact some of his demands; like twice daily, 98 degree tubs were eccentric , but we learn who he was warts and all. Churchill was a great leader for many reasons, especially in uniting many to defeat evil. 

— Suzanne Lucey

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Description


The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
 
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

About the Author


Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers: Dead WakeIn the Garden of BeastsThunderstruckThe Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm, which have collectively sold more than nine million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries.

Praise For…


“What Larson brilliantly provides are the finer details of the effects on England as he focuses on the family and home of its dynamic, idiosyncratic, and indefatigable leader. . . . Larson’s skill at integrating vast research and talent for capturing compelling human dramas culminate in an inspirational portrait of one of history’s finest, most fearless leaders.”Booklist (starred review)
 
“A captivating history of Churchill’s heroic year, with more than the usual emphasis on his intimates.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“I have an early copy of this book on my desk and idly began reading the first pages—and suddenly time disappeared.”The Seattle Times


Product Details
ISBN: 9780385348713
ISBN-10: 0385348711
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: February 25th, 2020
Pages: 608