The Splendid and the Vile
A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
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.
“What riveting trip through the war on the capable albeit somewhat eccentric shoulders of Churchill. Not only does Larson provide a top-notch history of World War II, but he also provides an intimate look at the man and the family and associates of that one man, that unlikely hero, who now seems the only one who could have led Britain through the fight against Hitler. Highly recommended.”Kelly, Raven Book Store
“An excellent account of the darkest hour through the intimate details of the Churchill family, and accounts and diaries of staff and English, German and American leaders and soldiers. Larson expertly shows Churchill's highs and lows and how his oration skills, charisma and spirit buoyed society at the exact right time. Excellent for WWII buffs or if you are new to reading about defining moments of history. Great audiobook!”Karin, Bookworm of Edwards
“Larson does a splendid job again of creating the personal story out of a larger historical event. Here he concentrates on the Churchills and the two years of the London blitz. By using diaries and letters, he tells of the immense loss of life and property. He also gives voice to the great spirit of the people who endured this. We are transported to 10 Downing Street and the official weekend home of the prime minister where meetings, meals, parties, and intrigue abound.”Valerie, Blue Willow Bookshop
“Thoroughly researched non-fiction that reads like a novel. Covers Winston Churchill and his family and close associates through the horrible Luftwaffe bombings of London and nearby cities during 1940-41. Shows Churchill leading his country against seemingly impossible odds through the sheer force of personality. Excellent book even for those who would not ordinarily pick up a work of history.”Georgia, Bookstore1Sarasota
“Erik Larson has done it again! With years of impeccable research into diaries, archives, dossiers, biographies, and official British documents, he has presented an intimate and detailed account of Winston Churchill in his first years as prime minister as he dealt with the London Blitz and his own personal and family issues. This is Churchill as few of us can imagine, in his silky pajamas entertaining major dignitaries at his weekend retreat, all the while continuing to reassure the British people during their darkest days that they have what it takes to withstand the German onslaught. The Splendid and the Vile reads like an engrossing novel, with all the fascinating details and facts that Erik Larson can provide.”Gail Meyer, The Bookstore Plus Music & Art
NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2020 BY The Washington Post • HuffPost • The Seattle Times • Lit Hub • The Week • PopSugar
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.
This audiobook includes a recording of Winston Churchill's 1941 Christmas Eve speech.
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