The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson

In Eric Larson’s latest book, The Splendid and the Vile, we join Winston Churchill on the day he is sworn in as Prime Minister of England, momentous as it is the same day that Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. We follow Churchill’s first year in office, a very tumultuous year in which England endured the bombing blitz. Churchill rises to the challenge, managing the calamities and atrocities of war with wit and courage. We get to know Churchill and his entourage (fascinating in their own right), family members and longtime friends cum confidants. We are privy to Churchill’s eccentric habits, his personality in the face of overwhelming odds, his courage in leading a nation. He truly inspired a nation in learning “ the art of being fearless.”

In true Larson style, we learn unusual details about daily life during the war and how the public took things in stride and went on living. In this book, I found interesting parallels in how we are fighting our war on Covid-19. How our strategies change as we learn more about the “enemy”. How a leader depends on the scientists and his inner circle to provide the necessary intel. How we must show a brave face and inspire each other that we will stay the course and we will prevail.
Larson is exceptional at writing about complex matters in an easy to grasp manner. This was an illuminating book on Winston Churchill, a true leader of his times. I highly recommend it.
Written by Laurel K., Circulation

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