Notes on books, reading, and somewhat related topics
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Shelf Control #4
Shelf Controlis a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out the introductory post,Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday.
Title: The Splendid and the Vile Author: Erik Larson
Published: 2020 Length: 591 pages (including the book group guide)
What it’s about (synopsis from Goodreads): 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 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.
How and when I got it: I attended "Writers on a New England Stage" when Larson was the guest and got a signed copy of the paperback as part of the ticket price.
Why I want to read it: I have liked other books by Larson and find Churchill a fascinating historic figure.
How it begins: "No one had any doubt that the bombers would come."