“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill)
As always is the case, books by Erik Larson transcend the usual historical novel. This author always goes above and beyond in his books and provides the readers with a story that not only flows smoothly, but also is able to provide facts that are fascinating, erudite, and ultimately educate the reader, in a way that is fascinating and captivating.
There are multiple books about Winston Churchill, but this one merged together flawlessly pieces of his life. Winston had the uncanny ability to unite a nation that was bombarded with everything Nazi Germany had in its arsenal, but still managed to carry through to victory. It was also a fine tribute to the men and women behind the scenes, those who carried on because of Winston, and those family members who so believed in their husband and father. Winston didn’t believe in failure and though there were many, his indomitable spirit seemed to transcend defeat and inspire in the British people that spirit, and drive that nothing could or would crush them.
Winston’s character, that tough cigar chomping man who had various idiosyncrasies, was a marvel among men. His spirit and determination led a beleaguered country to its ultimate goal, that of staying a free Britain. He was a masterful leader of people, who made those around him strive for things it seemed impossible to achieve. The populace adored him, as he made himself one of them, walking through the ruins of war so gallantly and heroically, delivering speeches to the people, standing tall in the face of an imminent defeat. He was the man England needed and he pushed through valiantly, providing his nation with the spirit and determination it so needed in its hour of darkness. “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the hard may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
If you are at all interested in history, in a man, in a country that stood up to what others might have claimed as unbeatable odds this book is one for you. I recommend it most highly for its authentic look at a man and a time that should always be viewed as the epitome of the human spirit.
Thank you to Erik Larson, Crown Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this fabulous book due out February 25, 2020.
and here is the author:
THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE: A SAGA OF CHURCHILL, FAMILY, AND DEFIANCE DURING THE BLITZ, due out in early spring 2020, is a story of geopolitical brinksmanship during Churchill’s first year as prime minister, but also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country house, Chequers, and his “full-moon home,” Ditchley, where Churchill, his family, and his “Secret Circle” convene when the moon is in its brightest phases and the bombing threat is highest.
Erik is a former features writer for The Wall Street Journal and Time. His magazine stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s and other publications.