There has perhaps been more biography written about Winston Churchill than any other modern character. The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson depicts a side of Churchill during Britain’s “Darkest Hour”, that shows a side never before seen.

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the BlitzThe Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Erik Larson has proven to be one of my favorite nonfiction authors over the last several years.

This work shows a side of Churchill never before seen in any other biographical material I’ve read. Larson shows Churchill’s personal side, his relationship with those immediately around him during the darkest of times, from his daughter Pam to his right-hand man (at times anyway), Lord Beaverbrook.

The Splendid and the Vile isn’t only about Churchill though. It brings to light some of the important achievements of those around him, which collectively helped the Allies win the war against tyranny.

Most history buffs are more than vaguely familiar with Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain, the preparation for the inevitable Nazi invasion, the cracking of the codes, the increase in aircraft production, the nimble and clever strategies called to muster, and other elements demonstrating the resilience and strength of spirit of the British people at the outset of the second “War to End All Wars.” But this book makes clear how there must have been another facet involved in the savior of Great Britain. Many strange coincidences, could only be explained by some form of “divine intervention.”

Like anything written by Erik Larson, I highly recommend reading The Splendid and the Vile.

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