About the BookIn 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"--
Book Synopsis#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz--an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis "One of [Erik Larson's] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment."--Time - "A bravura performance by one of America's greatest storytellers."--NPR NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - Time - Vogue - NPR - The Washington Post - Chicago Tribune - The Globe & Mail - Fortune - Bloomberg - New York Post - The New York Public Library - Kirkus Reviews - LibraryReads - PopMatters 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.
Review Quotes"The kind of page-turner you always want in a history book but rarely get . . . Larson gives the reader a 'you are there' sense of the intensity of Churchill's work with his team on life-and-death challenges--and solving them at a pace I found to be mind-blowing."--Bill Gates, GatesNotes "Published in the midst of one of the greatest international crises since World War II, Larson's new book tells the story of London facing the Blitz during that war through the characters of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, members of his family and his various advisers. Readers are left with an indelible portrait of a nation coming together to face a brutal assault from German bombs under leadership that is wise, empathetic and strategic--not to mention highly witty and charming."--Time "Erik Larson, in his suspenseful new book, The Splendid and the Vile, captures the foreboding that settled on London leading up to the bombardment, as well as Churchill's determination not to give in. . . . Plus, there is Larson's reliable, cinematic writing and his intimate portrayal of Churchill."--The New Yorker "An enthralling page-turner."--O: The Oprah Magazine "A damn good story. There are narrative arcs, heroes, villains, and suspense aplenty to craft the kind of rich, immersive histories that have become Larson's trademark."--Rolling Stone "This is Erik Larson's moment. His affecting and affectionate chronicle of the Churchill family during the Blitz, the Nazi World War II bombing campaign against Great Britain, has found a hungry audience in the United States."--The Boston Globe
About The AuthorErik Larson is the author of six national bestsellers: The Splendid and the Vile, Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm, which have collectively sold more than ten million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries.