The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Version: Unabridged
Author: Erik Larson
Narrator: Erik Larson , John Lee
Genres: History
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: February 2020
# of Units: 14 CDs
Length: 14 hours
Ratings:
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Overview

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2020 BY The Washington Post • HuffPost • The Seattle Times • Lit Hub • The Week • PopSugar

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic 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 brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
 
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.

This audiobook includes a recording of Winston Churchill's 1941 Christmas Eve speech.

Reviews (17)

Written by Benjamin S. on January 11th, 2021

  • Book Rating: 3/5

This popular book disappointed me because it was too much horrors if war and too little Churchill.

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Written by Lee W. on November 2nd, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed the book, the reader was a bit too monotone for my liking.

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Written by Anonymous on September 27th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Too much information for me. I guess I did t realize before purchasing the book.

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Written by Anonymous on September 21st, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Fabulous. Brings a real "You are there" intensity and insight to the innermost aspects of Britain's defense against Germany in the early days of WWII--including Winston Churchill's US strategy and his relationship w/ FDR.

Written by LEW L. on September 14th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent excellent excellent

Written by Anonymous on August 5th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Woild have liked to see some clear type of ending

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Written by Daryl C. on August 3rd, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A terrific read that I listened to with my wife on a long road trip - and loved it again! I have read many accounts of this time, including John Colvill’s diary, and love to continually fill in gaps as well as developing a clearer picture. I am presently reading the war diary of Field Marshall Alan Brooke and if you are looking for another side of this time this is a wonderfully illuminating read!

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Written by Vaughn F. on June 27th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Great book. Meant to give it 5 stars. The narrator gets to be irritating as he does the character’s voices. Especially the females.

Written by Anonymous on June 13th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The marvelous connections the author makes with private public with the splendid Churchill

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Written by Matt M. on June 9th, 2020

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great book. Fantastic narration that really captivated the reader. Definitely worth the time.

Author Details

Author Details

Larson, Erik

Erik Larson grew up in Freeport, Long Island and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Russian history and from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. He has written for many newspapers and national magazines, and has published three previous works of nonfiction, Isaac's Storm, Lethal Passage: The Story of a Gun, and The Naked Consumer. He lives in Seattle with his wife, their three daughters, and a host of pets.