Book Review: The Splendid and The Vile


Manage episode 296572941 series 1545815
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Erik Larson is so good a storyteller that as you read through The Splendid and the Vile , his magnificent saga of Winston Churchill during the bombing of Britain — “the year Churchill became Churchill,” as Larson says — you wonder how it will all turn out! The book is what’s been said of Larson’s earlier works: “addictively readable.” Subtitled “A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz,” The Splendid and the Vile , over 500 pages, is worth every word. You’ll zip through in admiration and suspense, marveling at Larson’s perspective on the months between May 1940 and May1941, when Germany confidently, violently and nonstop sent its sophisticated bombers and fighters to annihilate English cities and the countryside. A striking frontispiece photo, the only one in the book, shows three lone figures amid destruction of what was once the Holland House Library in Kensington. Two shelves are still standing in the debris. The figures are exploring and touching what remains. In