LARSON ON CHURCHILL: Much ink has been spilled on Churchill, but Larson writes about him as a father, husband, and citizen of London, as well as a statesman. Larson thinks of the book as “a kind of Downton on Downing.” His central question is: How does anyone survive a catastrophe like the Blitz?
NOSTALGIA FACTOR: As the Trump presidency becomes more and more disastrous, people are increasingly hungry for a portrait of a true leader and fine orator.
FRESH MATERIAL: Larson is one of just two scholars allowed access to Mary Churchill’s diary. John Colville’s diary is another largely untapped source, and the origin of the book’s title.
THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY COMING TO HULU: Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese will executive produce the TV adaptation.
“The kind of page-turner you always want in a history book but rarely get . . . Larson gives the reader a ‘you are there’ sense of the intensity of Churchill’s work with his team on life-and-death challenges—and solving them at a pace I found to be mind-blowing.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes
“Published in the midst of one of the greatest international crises since World War II, Larson’s new book tells the story of London facing the Blitz during that war through the characters of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, members of his family and his various advisers. Readers are left with an indelible portrait of a nation coming together to face a brutal assault from German bombs under leadership that is wise, empathetic and strategic—not to mention highly witty and charming.”—Time
“Erik Larson, in his suspenseful new book, The Splendid and the Vile, captures the foreboding that settled on London leading up to the bombardment, as well as Churchill’s determination not to give in. . . . Plus, there is Larson’s reliable, cinematic writing and his intimate portrayal of Churchill.”—The New Yorker
“An enthralling page-turner.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“A damn good story. There are narrative arcs, heroes, villains, and suspense aplenty to craft the kind of rich, immersive histories that have become Larson’s trademark.”—Rolling Stone
“This is Erik Larson’s moment. His affecting and affectionate chronicle of the Churchill family during the Blitz, the Nazi World War II bombing campaign against Great Britain, has found a hungry audience in the United States.”—The Boston Globe
“Through the remarkably skillful use of intimate diaries as well as public documents, some newly released, Larson has transformed the well-known record of 12 turbulent months, stretching from May of 1940 through May of 1941, into a book that is fresh, fast and deeply moving.”—Candice Millard, The New York Times Book Review
“Larson’s book offers a delicious slice of life of the world’s last great statesman.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Fascinating . . . The entire book comes at the reader with breakneck speed. So much happened so quickly in those 12 months, yet Larson deftly weaves all the strands of his tale into a coherent and compelling whole.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“I have an early copy of this book on my desk and idly began reading the first pages—and suddenly time disappeared.”—The Seattle Times
“Still, it is a time of sadness, fear, grief and uncertainty for so many, and I find myself comforted by reading about other supremely challenging times in human history, and about resilience, and hope. For this, there is no better book right now than The Splendid and the Vile.”—Mackenzie Dawson, New York Post
“Nonfiction king Erik Larson is back.”—PopSugar
“Spectacular . . . Larson, as America’s most compelling popular historian, is at his best in this fast-moving, immensely readable, and even warmhearted account of the battle to save Britain.”—The Christian Science Monitor
"What sets [Larson's] work apart is his signature way of using painstaking research through personal journals and historical records to spin a gripping nonfiction tale through the ordinary lives of the men and women who succeeded, failed, and perished as a result.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The Splendid and the Vile delivers the great saga with a novelist’s touch. It’s like you’re watching and hearing the days and nights of 1940 as a passenger on a double-decker London bus.”—Chris Matthews, Churchill Bulletin
“The popular historian Erik Larson has done it again. As I read this book, I kept wondering what the swelling of powerful emotion was that I felt, sometimes in an almost physical sense.”—Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, in Air Mail
“A propulsive, character-driven account of Winston Churchill’s first year as British prime minister . . . Readers will rejoice.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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