THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 'There are countless books about World War II, but there's only one Erik Larson ... The book reads like a novel, and even though everyone (hopefully) knows how the war ultimately ended, he keeps the reader turning the pages with his gripping prose' NPR A startling, gripping portrait of what it was like to be alive in Britain during the Blitz, and what it was like to be around Churchill. On Winston Churchill's first day as prime minister, 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, the Nazis would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons and destroying two million homes. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson gives a new and brilliantly cinematic account of how Britain's most iconic leader set about unifying the nation at its most vulnerable moment, and teaching 'the art of being fearless.' Drawing on once-secret intelligence reports and diaries, #1 bestselling author Larson takes readers from the shelled streets of London to Churchill's own chambers, giving a vivid vision of true leadership, when – in the face of unrelenting horror – a leader of eloquence, strategic brilliance and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.