The Splendid And The Vile

by Erik Larson


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About the book

Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium on Winston Churchill's first day as Prime Minister. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already surrendered, and the evacuation of Dunkirk was just two weeks away. Hitler would continue his bombing campaign for the following twelve months, killing 45,000 Britons. Churchill had to keep his country together and persuade President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Britain was valued partner eager to fight to the bitter end.

 
Erik Larson's film The Splendid and the Vile depicts Churchill teaching the British people "the skill of being bold" in cinematic realism. It's a political thriller, but it's also a personal 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 full and the bombing threat is greatest; and, of course, 10 Downing Street in London. Using diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some of which have only recently been made public—Larson offers a fresh perspective on London's darkest year through the eyes of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who resents her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary
 
 
The Splendid and the Vile transports readers from today's political chaos to a time of great leadership, when Winston Churchill's eloquence, strength, and perseverance united a country and a family in the face of unending misery.

 


About the Author

Erik Larson is a nonfiction author and journalist from the United States. He is the author of several best-selling books, including The Devil in the White City, which is about the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago and a series of murders perpetrated in the city around the time of the Fair by H. H. Holmes.


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