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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

by Erik Larson

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385348720
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 03/10/2020
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 42,501

About the Author

Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers: Dead WakeIn the Garden of BeastsThunderstruckThe Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm, which have collectively sold more than nine million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries.

Hometown:

Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1954

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York

Education:

B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; M.S., Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 1978