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

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance 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 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.

Title:The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
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    The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz Reviews

  • Liz

    Erik Larson is my favorite author of nonfiction. He writes books that just grab me as well as always teaching me something new. Looking back on Churchill, it’s easy to assume he was always loved and...

  • Dem

    What a poignant read for the times we are in as the world is fighting a different type of war without the guns and bombs and those in government must make the tough decisions to keep us safe. A few Wi...

  • Beata

    A terrific account of the 'darkest hour' from the perspective of the Churchills. Mr Larson has a special talent which allows him to engage a reader and leave them satisfied, like myself. This non-fict...

  • Elyse  Walters

    Few authors are as gifted writing - ‘non-fiction’ - that reads like - ‘fiction’, - as Erik Larson does. With tenacity and sensitivity, Larson gives us an compelling account of history by human...

  • Holly  B

    This was fascinating, thrilling, and filled with those "go team" moments. Britain and the world VS. Hitler. I took my time to read this history filled book. It was part memoir of Winston Churchill'...

  • Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is splendid, intense, emotional, perfectly crafted and so far one of the best nonfictions I’ve read. The author’s fantastic talented writing hooks you from the beginning and you see so many s...

  • JanB

    “Never was there such a contrast of natural splendor and human vileness.” (John Colville’s diary entry about the peculiar beauty of watching bombs fall over the city) What better time than durin...

  • Jeanette (Again)

    Publication day has finally arrived. Enjoy!Be sure to set aside plenty of time to work your way through this deep exploration of one year in the life of Churchill and those close to him. It will requi...

  • Dorie  - Cats&Books :)

    I have read several books by Eric Larson but “ Devil In The White City” was always my favorite, but after reading “The Splendid And The Vile”, this one is a tie for me with the above book.I ha...

  • Greta

    "An airplain carrying Hitler, Goebbels and Göring crashes, all three are killed. Who is saved? The German people!" joke in Berlin during the BlitzLondoner milkman going to workIn "The Splendid and t...