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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz Hardcover – February 25, 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 17,596 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Editors' pick: Larson's latest cements his position as one of the finest nonfiction writers of our time. Many historians have taken on Churchill, but Larson has done it and given us something fresh, something relevant to our times. And he has added details not to the edges of Churchill’s biography, but to the very heart of it."—Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor

Review

“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)

Product details

  • Publisher : Crown; First Edition (February 25, 2020)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0385348711
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0385348713
  • Item Weight : 2 pounds
  • Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.45 x 9.52 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 17,596 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
17,596 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on February 28, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

markr
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant depiction of the early war years
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 24, 2020
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15 people found this helpful
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White Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Best bio of 1st two years of WWII
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2020
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13 people found this helpful
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M. Fay
5.0 out of 5 stars Very compelling read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 28, 2020
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Roy Edward Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb account
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 14, 2021
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wrinkled weasel
2.0 out of 5 stars A competent undergraduate piece, but not a lot more.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2021
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