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Splendore e viltà

di Erik Larson

Altri autori: Vedi la sezione altri autori.

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
3,2051314,202 (4.23)217
"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz 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, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it's also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports-some released only recently-Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when-in the face of unrelenting horror-Churchill's eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together."--… (altro)
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» Vedi le 217 citazioni

It was quite engaging. ( )
  bread2u | May 15, 2024 |
BIBLIOGRAPHIC DETAILS
(Print: 2/25/ 2020; 978-0385348713; Crown; First Edition; 608 pp. (including list of references))
(Digital: Yes.)
Audio: 1/22/2002; 978-0593167182; Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group; Unabridged; Duration 17:57:21 (15 parts); Unabridged.
(Film: no. at least not yet).

SERIES:
No

CHARACTERS: (Not comprehensive)
Winston S. Churchill – Prime Minister of Britain.
Clementine (pronounced Clementeen) Churchill – Winston’s wife.
Mary Churchill – Winston’s youngest living daughter—17 at the commencing focal time of this book, 1940.
Diana Churchill Sandys – Winston’s eldest daughter – 30 at the commencing focal time of this book, 1940.
Duncan Sandys – Diana’s husband.
Sarah (Mule) Churchill – The second daughter – age 25 at the commencing focal time of this book, 1940. (an actress)
Vic Oliver – Sarah’s husband – age 41 (an Austrian actor)
Randolph Churchill – 4th child of Winston and Clementine – age 28 at the commencing focal time of this book, 1940.
Pamela Digby Churchill – Randolph’s new bride from the year before the commencing focal time of this book – age 20.
Judith Ventia Montagu – Mary’s close cousin – age 17.
Walter Henry Thompson – Scotland Yard’s Special Branch Detective (“a ‘dogsbody’, in the parlance of the time.”)
John (Jock) Colville – Assistant private secretary to Prime Minister Chamberlain, and then to Winston.
King George VI
Queen Elizabeth
Neville Chamberlain – former Prime Minister of Britain
Franklin D. Roosevelt – U.S. President
Joseph Kennedy – American ambassador to Britain
Lord Halifax – Foreign secretary
Hastings (Pug) Ismay – General military chief of staff
(William) Averell Harriman – Franklin’s special envoy to Europe (and Pamela’s love interest)
Robert Meiklejohn – Harriman’s secretary.
William Maxwell Aitkin - Lord Beaverbrook – Minister of Aircraft Production
Frederick Lindemann – 1st Viscount Cherwell – British physicist – prime scientific advisor to Winston.
Harry Lloyd Hopkins – Franklin’s advisor on foreign policy – supervised the Lend-Lease program of military aid to the Allies.
Adolf Hitler- Austrian-born German politician – dictator or Germany – leader of the Nazi Party.
Joseph Goebbels – Hitler’s chief propagandist
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess – Adolf’s Deputy Fuhrer
Hermann Goring - Chairman of a new six-person Council of Ministers for Defense of the Reich

SUMMARY/ EVALUATION:
Erik tells us that he didn’t truly comprehend the affect of 911 on New Yorkers until he moved to Manhattan and lived among those whose homeland was attacked, and it started him pondering, how Londoners withstood 57 straight days of bombing….and so he had to research it and share it with us. A generous gesture indeed. He adds a lot of fact and texture to the stories of the many lives we are, to varying degrees, familiar with.
One of the many issues this book led me to consider, was America’s resistance to assist Britain in its struggle against a hostile take-over by a country lusting for blood, even of its own citizens, until America itself was attacked.
For me, it fueled my belief that sometimes security and comfort can instill a false sense of superiority. It seems that is easier to be a moralist (war—sending one’s citizens to kill and be killed—is evil) when one is comfortable and under no threat. When, in retrospect at least, it seems the evil was in making no effort to protect Allied countries from being overrun, terrorized and crushed by a country with no regard for humanity eager to instill fear and suffering, and supplant cultures of rich intellect, beauty, and joy, built over centuries, with what would have amounted to hostile enslavement, until the threat arrived at our own front door. I’m sure there were factors of which I am unaware, and hindsight if 20 20 vision, but I’m just sayin’.
If, like me, you enjoy audio books, this one is masterfully narrated by one of my favorite narrators, John Lee. But pick up a copy of the book and read the acknowledgements, because, like the forward (entitled, “A Note to Readers”), it is an essential part of Erik’s story-telling genius in this work.

AUTHOR:
Erik Larson (1/3/1954). According to the book’s end fly-leaf, “Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers: Dead Wake [read it], In the Garden of Beasts [read it], Thunderstruck [read it], The Devil in the White City [read it], and Isaac’s storm [what? I missed one?] which have collectively sold more than 9 million copies. His books have been published in nearly twenty countries [nearly?].”

NARRATOR(S):
John [Rafter] Lee. As I mentioned in my last review where John was the narrator, oddly, Wikipedia and IMDb (Wikipedia’s source, so no wonder) make no mention of the many books John has narrated, but instead list his filmography (nothing I have seen, but probably because he is British), television roles, and video game roles. Apparently, he is also a playwright and producer.

GENRE:
Non-fiction, history, biography

LOCATIONS:
London, Chequers, 10 Downing Street

TIME FRAME:
1940-1941

SUBJECTS:
WWII, 1939-1945; Bletchley code breakers; Radar; fighter planes; bombs; family; romance; London; community; resilience; finances; foreign relations; America’s attitude toward joining WWII; Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965; Prime Ministers; Great Britain; Campaigns; Social aspects of WWII in Britain

DEDICATION:
“To David Woodrum –for secret reasons”

SAMPLE QUOTATION:
“’All of a sudden about midnight [I] heard a rain of objects on the roof and against the building and saw bright flashing blue lights through the drawn curtains, he wrote in his diary. ‘Took a look out and saw dozens of incendiaries sputtering around in the street and small park below, making a bluish light like electric sparks, my first close contact with incendiaries.’ As he watched, he heard noises in the hall and found that his neighbors were heading down to the shelter in the building’s basement. A visiting airman had advised them that incendiaries were invariably followed by bombs.
‘I took the hint,’ Meiklejohn wrote. He put on his treasured fur coat---‘I didn’t want it to get blitzed.’—and headed downstairs to begin his first-ever night in a shelter.
Soon high-explosive bombs began to fall. At one A.M. a bomb landed just beyond a corner of the building, igniting a gas main that lit the night so brightly, Meiklejohn believed he could have read a newspaper by its light. ‘This caused considerable stir among those who knew what it was all about,’ he wrote, ‘because it was almost a sure thing that the bombers would concentrate on us with the fires as a target.’
More incendiaries fell. ‘Then the bombs started coming down fast after a while, in ‘sticks’ of three and six that sounded like gun salvos.’ The upper floors of neighboring buildings caught fire. Detonations shook the building. Several times during lulls in the bombing, Meiklejohn and a trio of U.S. Army officers left the building to examine the accumulating damage, careful not to venture more than a block away.”

RATING:
5 stars. It must have been such a tremendous challenge to weave so many quotes from diaries, correspondences, reports, and what-not, from such a huge cast of characters, into so robustly comprehensive and cohesive a rendering of these lives and times; striving, all the while, to add unique and as-yet untold peeks into the hearts and souls of those who shepherded nations through the war and into the future, with such panache.

STARTED-FINISHED 7/7/21 - 8/8/21 ( )
  TraSea | Apr 29, 2024 |
Very good book. Erik Larson is one of my favorite authors. About Winston Churchill and the Blitz. ( )
  Ferg.ma | Apr 13, 2024 |
An engrossing look at life during the Blitz in London, 1940 to 1941. ( )
  charlie68 | Mar 14, 2024 |
A splendid account of the year before the bombing of Pearl Harbor of Churchill?s first year as Prime Minister. An excellent accounting of what went in the lives of the people around him and the destruction that took place in London and other cities in Great Britain.Kirkus: The bestselling author deals with one of the most satisfying good-vs.-evil battles in history, the year (May 1940 to May 1941) during which Churchill and Britain held off Hitler.Bookshelves groan with histories of Britain?s finest hour, but Larson (Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, 2015, etc.) employs a mildly unique strategy, combining an intense, almost day-to-day account of Churchill?s actions with those of his family, two of his officials (Frederick Lindemann, who was Churchill?s prime science adviser, and Lord Beaverbrook, minister of air production), and staff, including private secretary Jock Colville and bodyguard Walter Thompson. Since no one doubted they lived in extraordinary times and almost everyone kept journals and wrote letters, the author takes full advantage of an avalanche of material, much of which will be unfamiliar to readers. Churchill remains the central figure; his charisma, public persona, table talk, quirks, and sybaritic lifestyle retain their fascination. Authors have not ignored his indispensable wife, Clementine (Sonia Purnell?s 2015 biography is particularly illuminating), but even history buffs will welcome Larson?s attention to their four children, especially Mary, a perky adolescent and his favorite. He makes no attempt to rehabilitate Winston?s only son, Randolph, a heavy-drinking spendthrift whose long-suffering wife, Pamela, finally consoled herself with a long affair with American representative Averell Harriman, which was no secret to the family and was entirely approved. Britain?s isolation ended when Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, but Larson ends on May 10. The Blitz was in full swing, with a particularly destructive raid on London, but that day also saw Rudolf Hess, Hitler?s second in command, fly to England and engage in a wacky attempt (planned since the previous autumn) to negotiate peace. Nothing came of Hess? action, but that day may also have marked the peak of the Blitz, which soon diminished as Germany concentrated its forces against the Soviet Union.A captivating history of Churchill?s heroic year, with more than the usual emphasis on his intimates.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
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» Aggiungi altri autori (14 potenziali)

Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Erik Larsonautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Lee, JohnNarratoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
Tézenas, HubertTraduttoreautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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It is not given to human beings - happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable - to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events.
--Winston Churchill,
Eulogy for Neville Chamberlain,
November 12, 1940
Dedica
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To David Woodrum
--for secret reasons
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No one had any doubt that the bombers would come.
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"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers a fresh and compelling portrait of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz 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, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold the country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally-and willing to fight to the end. In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it's also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports-some released only recently-Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the cadre of close advisers who comprised Churchill's "Secret Circle," including his lovestruck private secretary, John Colville; newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook; and the Rasputin-like Frederick Lindemann. The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today's political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when-in the face of unrelenting horror-Churchill's eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together."--

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