The Splendid And The Vile

By Erik Larson

9/10
(9/10)

585 pages

What’s it about?
Erik Larson takes us back to London in 1940-1941 as Churchill takes over as Prime Minister of England and the Blitz begins in earnest.  Somehow Churchill manages to instill fearlessness into a whole population as they face night after night of intense bombing.  45,000 people will be killed in this bombing campaign over the next year.  It is easy to forget that England stood virtually alone against Germany in 1940.  Erik Larson shows us that Winston Churchill was the right person to lead at that particular time in history.

What did it make me think about?
The Blitz certainly puts “stay at home” orders in a new perspective…

Should I read it?
This was an interesting look at a slice of history that most of us don’t know much about.  World War 2 is often talked about and I knew about the Blitz but this book filled in so many blanks.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes history.

Quote-
“He might have been speaking before the House of Commons, rather than to a small group of men fogged by cigars and alcohol in a quiet country house.  ‘We seek no treasure,’ Churchill said, ‘we seek no territorial gains, we seek only the right of man to be free; we seek his right to worship his God, to lead his life in his own way, secure from persecution.  As the humble laborer returns home from his work when the day is done, and sees the smoke curling upwards from his cottage home in the serene evening sky, we wish him to know that no “rat-a-tat-tat”- here Churchill knocked loudly on the table- ‘of the secret police upon his door will disturb his leisure or interrupt his rest.’  He said ‘Britain sought only government by popular consent, freedom to say whatever one wished, and the equality of all people in the eyes of the law.  But war aims other than these we have none.’ “

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