The Splendid and the Vile
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
‘Every time Churchill took to the airwaves it was as if he were injecting adrenaline-soaked courage directly into the British people … Larson tells the story of how that feat was accomplished … Fresh, fast and deeply moving.’ New York Times
A STARTLING, GRIPPING PORTRAIT OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE ALIVE IN BRITAIN DURING THE BLITZ, AND WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE AROUND CHURCHILL.
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.’
Drawing on once-secret intelligence reports and diaries, #1 bestselling author Larson takes readers from the shelled streets of London to Churchill’s own chambers, giving a vivid vision 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.
THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER PICKED BY BARACK OBAMA AND BILL GATES AS A BEST BOOK OF 2020 'If you want to look back at a really important part of history with fresh eyes, this is the book for you ... Gripping and wonderful' Alan Carr 'An enthralling page-turner' O: The Oprah Magazine 'Fresh, fast and deeply moving ... Larson's deft portraits show the essential connection that words created between the powerful and the powerless, capturing the moments that defined life for millions struggling to survive the decisions of a few' New York Times Book Review 'There are countless books about World War II, but there's only one Erik Larson ... There are many things to admire about The Splendid and the Vile, but chief among them is Larson's electric writing. The book reads like a novel, and even though everyone (hopefully) knows how the war ultimately ended, he keeps the reader turning the pages with his gripping prose.' NPR 'A particularly gripping read, written with bounce and brio. Larson pulls together vivid vignettes - some moving, some amusing, a few grim ... A fine writer of narrative nonfiction history.' Robbie Millen, Times 'This book is peppered with eye-popping details ... A deeply compelling work of history ... Without resorting to heroism, it makes one long powerfully for real leadership' Lit Hub 'I have an early copy of this book on my desk and idly began reading the first pages-and suddenly time disappeared.' Seattle Times 'Larson's skill at integrating vast research and talent for capturing compelling human dramas culminate in an inspirational portrait of one of history's finest, most fearless leaders' Booklist (starred review) 'A captivating history of Churchill's heroic year, with more than the usual emphasis on his intimates.' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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