The Splendid and the Vile


“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

A non-fiction look into London during the blitz. I don’t read too many non-fiction, but I have been trying to expand my book selections this past year. I have always been fascinated with life during World War II and this definitely opened up some doors. Larson mashes together excerpts from diaries, speeches, and documents seamlessly. There were many times where I completely forgot I was even reading a non-fiction book.

“If we can’t be safe, let us at least be comfortable.”

The incredible thing about this time period is how people kept going. There was no end in sight to the bombings, there was talk of an actual ground invasion, and everyone just wanted to make sure they had enough tea. There is an excerpt from Mary Churchill explaining how her and some friends were told the location for an afterparty had been bombed, many individuals were killed in the explosion. That instance did not stop them, they just proceeded to another location. She explains in hindsight that may not have been the sanest idea, but it was how the young and influential reacted. If that doesn’t explain human nature, I don’t know what does.

“One young boy, asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, a fireman or pilot or such, answered: “Alive.”

Growing up in the American school system, we aren’t taught much about Churchill, seeing him described through the people who knew him the best is really just thrilling. Though described as incredibly eccentric, I mean the amount of baths that man must have taken during cabinet meetings. He was a great leader and really gave people hope during his entire time as Prime Minister. His faith that Roosevelt would eventually come to help fight the war was unrelenting. If you are a fan of non-fiction reads, great historical moments, or interested in learning more about an incredible time in history, I would highly recommend this read.

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