THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE’s title comes from a line (see Quotes) in the diary of John Colville, PM Winston Churchill’s secretary, describing his experience of watching bombs fall over London during WWII. Author Erik Larson’s descriptive writing vividly brings history to life and makes the reader feel like “you are there” in the middle of the Blitz and the Battle of Britain. The book focuses on the first year Churchill was Prime Minister, May 10, 1940 to May 10, 1941. Using historical documents like diaries, letters, and memoirs, Larson takes a fascinating and intimate look at the lives, thoughts, and feelings of Churchill and his inner circle, including staff, friends, and family. He also includes some sobering and humorous details of what life was like for British citizens during the War. As in his previous works, Erik Larson’s non-fiction storytelling style makes this book and its subject compelling. I can’t recommend it enough. Churchill was definitely the right leader for the time.