The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

With the new year I’ve been thinking about how to better document my learnings from the books I’ve read. Writing doesn’t come easy to me, so each book review I wrote usually took quite some time for me to complete. Instead of no longer writing book reviews, I’ve decided to try out writing shorter reviews instead. I’ll try to limit myself to no more than 300 words to focus more on my takeaways and less on describing the plot.

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson shows how Winston Churchill led UK during the Second World War. It gives accounts of how Churchill and his extended family was impacted by the war.

With Germany’s superior military strength, UK alone wasn’t going to be able to withstand Germany’s attacks long term. Churchill at the very outset understood the importance of getting US to become UK’s ally in order to tilt the war in UK’s favor. He communicated often with Franklin Roosevelt, US president at the time, on the the importance of US support to not only UK but to US as well.

Churchill’s leadership was instrumental as he rallied the British people to be fearless and to never surrender. He was resolute in his vision and made tough decisions to maximize the strengths of his team. This led to UK drastically increasing its arms productions which allowed UK to fortify its defense until US involvement in the war.

I enjoyed the story telling nature of the book where historical facts are presented to produce a compelling story. One aspect which I lost interest in is when the story centered too much on the lives of Churchill’s extended family. I find it taking away from the main plot while also not adding much insights. All in all this is a book I do enjoy reading for the most part, although since it’s not as focused as I would like it to be it’s not on my recommended list.