Virtual: Erik Larson, "The Splendid and The Vile" in Conversation with Roxanne Coady
Join us for this virtual event with Erik Larson & Roxanne Coady
New York Times bestselling author Erik Larson is known for expertly transporting readers to past worlds; even stories we think we know come to life in a different way in his hands.
With his remarkable new work of nonfiction, The Splendid and the Vile, Larson once again turns history into a thriller, taking us into the heart of war-torn England for the period of May 10, 1940, through May 10, 1941—Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister.
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.
Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers: Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac’s Storm, which have collectively sold more than nine million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries.
Roxanne J. Coady founded RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut in 1989, creating a business that is recognized as a national leader among independent booksellers. In 2009, Coady founded a personalized book subscription site, Just the Right Book. This site has a national reach and combines the intimacy of an independent bookstore with the digital marketplace. In addition, Coady hosts a weekly podcast available on iTunes, Just the Right Book, in which she interviews best-selling authors and people in the bookselling and publishing community.
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