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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"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, 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 the 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 cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann. 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."--
Publisher: New York, New York :, Crown,, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Description: xii, 585 pages : illustration, map ; 25 cm
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780385348713
Branch Call Number: 941.084 Chu
Additional Contributors: Larson, Erik, 1954- Splendid and the vile

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1tarheel
Jul 05, 2020

Larson does it again. This is a year I hadn't fully appreciated, but Larson brings it home, sketching out the push and pull of personalities while Britain teeters on the brink. France's fall and Britain's struggle through to victory both seem inevitable in hindsight, but neither was necessarily expected at the time. Interesting to have read this book now, in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, where the outcome remains very much unknown....

r
rogeraeschliman
Jun 27, 2020

Another fabulous telling by Erik Larson, perhaps the best popular non-fiction writer going today. You don't have to be a WWII historian or a Churchill fanatic to pick this up and quickly find yourself immersed in The Blitz and the inner details of the Churchill family. This is NOT dry history. This is how people decided to do and act and why, and the result of those decisions at the beginning of World War II. There are many other supporting characters. If you want an entry point into WWII this is a nice door to walk through. If you want to add details to your existing knowledge base of The Blitz and Churchill this is a nice stroll off the beaten path. If you have never read anything by Erik Larson, skip this and read "The Devil in the White City" first, "Dead Wake" second and "Isaac's Storm" third, then this one.

g
Gmcluckie
Jun 06, 2020

At first, this book puzzled me. What did Winston Churchill's teenage daughter's diary have to do with the first months of WWII? Then l caught Erik Larson's rhythm and reason, and started really enjoying. Familiar ground shown in a different light.

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good_stuff_4U
May 29, 2020

Erik Larson's past books had me stoked to read The Splendid and the Vile. The rewards of this book lie in "data" collection; the size of appendices at the rear of the book confirms this. Having visited the Churchill Museum demonstrates so much more than this book can offer. There is much about Churchill that just wasn't captured for me but for those who like data, it can be found in this accounting of Churchill's early rule.

l
laphampeak
May 25, 2020

Definitive in it's war telling yet a novel that captures the human interactions of family and fellow politicians. The exposing of familial interludes during an intense period of bombing and rationing reveals a side of the war period that , for the most part, hasn't been brought into light. It promoted an interest in Churchill and Britain in the 1940's that I'd have otherwise passed on. Larson, once again, sure did his work.

b
bigfeet
May 25, 2020

This had a great narrative. Very enjoyable to read.

c
cnadalin
May 22, 2020

Linda recommendation

g
greglavins
Apr 21, 2020

If anyone is sitting on a copy let me know, would love to read it while we wait for the library to reopen! Thanks!

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.

c
Commacontrol
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.

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