The Splendid and the Vile
by Erik Larson
Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Bombing of London
The New York Times bestselling author delivers a startlingly fresh 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, the Nazis would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons and destroying two million homes.
In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson gives a new and brilliantly cinematic account of how Britain’s most iconic leader set about unifying the nation at its most vulnerable moment, and teaching ‘the art of being fearless.’ Larson follows Churchill as prime minister through the fraught meeting rooms, streets and air raids of London’s darkest year, and Churchill as family man into his home, where tensions were just as complicated: his wife, Clementine; their daughters, Sarah, Diana, and the youngest, Mary, who chafed against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph; his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; her illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisors who comprised Churchill’s ‘Secret Circle’.
Drawing on once-secret intelligence reports and diaries, 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 – a leader of eloquence, strategic brilliance and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.