The Splendid and the Vile

The Splendid and the Vile

A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Book - 2020
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In this "portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz, ... 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, ... Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family"--Publisher marketing.
Publisher: New York : Crown, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385348713
Characteristics: xii, 585 pages : illustration, map ; 25 cm
Call Number: 941.084092 LAR


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KHaney Apr 06, 2020

I was so lucky to get this book just before the library closed. An absolutely wonderful and engrossing work on Churchill and his valiant efforts to see Britain through the first year of World War II. Nothing takes your mind off our current troubles better than reading about other people's woes! I rarely give a 5 star rating, but this book truly deserved it.

Apr 02, 2020

I generally like Erik Larson's books but I just couldn't seem to really get into this one. I'm not sure why.

Mar 17, 2020

This book reads like a novel, with suspense on almost every page. I rarely read history but the writing is so fluid I could not put it down (and that is saying a lot)! I read this in 2 days and look forward to reading more by this author.

Mar 16, 2020

Larson takes the reader through a more intimate saga of the Churchill family, covering the first year of his leadership of Britain - including the escape from Dunkirk and the long bombing campaign of the Battle of Britain, and the slow process of building a partnership with the isolationist United States. This is not a political or military history, but the kind of human drama that Larson does so well, tracing emotions and the swelling of both fear and confidence of the British people, from the high to the common - liberal quotations from actual diaries and eyewitness testimony season the complete narrative.

Mar 02, 2020

I love Erik Larsen's work. It is so readable and interesting. You might think you are not interested in the life of Churchill but I guarantee that Larsen will make it totally engaging for you. He is the best non-fiction writer for the average reader who may not read a lot of non-fiction.

Feb 24, 2020

A portrait of a paragon of courage and resolve with poignant moments and political intrigue. Larson's decision to present the first year of Churchill's term as prime minister is brilliant. We get glimpses behind the curtain using Churchill's own words as well as diaries from those around him like secretary Coville and daughter Mary. Clementine is also there in all her glory. London and Berlin are frequently juxtaposed next to each other in alternating chapters in the narrative. In hindsight we can see more clearly the blunders made on both sides, but especially those of the Germans as the tide was turning when Hitler decided to take a break from battering Britain and use the Luftwaffe to invade Russia. The statistics are staggering: between September 7, 1040, and May 11, 1941, there were 44,652 deaths in Great Britain with an additional 52,370 injured. Among those killed were 5,626 children. In the midst of it all we read a quote from Coville's private papers during a Sunday night bombing raid: "It was magnificent and terrible: the spasmodic drone of enemy aircraft overhead; the thunder of gunfire, sometimes close sometimes in the distance; the illumination, like that of electric trains in peace-time, as the guns fired; and the myriad stars, real and artificial, in the firmament. Never was there such a contrast of natural splendor and human vileness." And thence comes the magnificent title for this new release from Erik Larson.

debwalker Jan 28, 2020

Leadership in a time of crisis made all the difference. We came so close to losing the war.


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