The Blitz. What an incredibly scary time to be living in London. Not to mention anywhere in Europe during WW2. It was very interesting to read about the war from Britain’s perspective. I am used to learning about Hitler and his nazi followers, concentration camps, Pearl Harbor and the US declaring war in Japan as well as German from the American perspective. Reading The Splendid and the Vile, I was, at times, just as frustrated as Churchill with the superpower clinging to her neutrality as Hitler plotted to take over the world. Although I can understand President Roosevelt’s hesitancy to involve the US in the war, inevitably resulting in the loss of American lives and resources, hindsight is always 2020 and knowing that America entering the war was the beginning of the end for the Nazis had me anxious to get to the part in the story where the US finally joins forces with the British.

Another observation in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, was that Londoners, even under threat of air raids at least every full moon, were going about their everyday lives. They built bomb shelters in their gardens and then continued to get up each day to go to work. They went to parties and met up with friends, determined to persevere against the evil across the channel. 

Erik Larson is an incredible writer. This was a very historical book made up mostly of a compilation of personal diaries, but he made it read like historical fiction. I also loved how he incorporated family drama and romance amongst the devastation of the war. Another excellent book by Erik Larson that you can find a review for in the “Mini Reviews” tab is The Devil in the White City.

*Back to The Splendid and the Vile. *Another more light hearted aspect of the book was the funny anecdotes about Winston Churchill. For example, the man loved naps and baths, he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, drinking and smoking and entertaining/discussing the war. He was known to dictate from nis bed or bathtub and loved his bathrobe and slippers. Also, he many times refused to retreat to his bunker during raids and would instead go up on the roof to watch and then grip about how the Royal Air Force was not doing enough to hinder the German bomber planes.

This was a dense book, rich with history and it took me a while to get through, but I am so glad I read it!