The Splendid and the Vile - A saga of Churchill, family and defiance during The Blitz by Erik Larson is a view of WWII through Churchill in his first year as Prime Minister, his War Cabinet and his family and friends. As unsettling and fearful 2020 and 2021 has been for the world and currently without a strong U.S. leader or government, our woes dim in comparison with the bombardment and German occupation that Europe struggled through during the war years. One thing England had to carry them through was a dedicated and smart leader in Sir Winston Churchill. But unfortunately the British did not have equipment or aircraft capable of fighting against the night time raids of the German Luftwaffe and "England's green and pleasant land" took a beating.
I found Erik Larson's writing gives an intimate look into the day to day struggles throughout the war and often with humor. Churchill's resolve to never give up pulled the United Kingdom through a dark time in English history and thank goodness King Edward VIII, a Nazi sympathizer, had previously abdicated and England was ruled during this period by a patriotic King (George VI) and Queen. For me, the book gave me a more in depth look at the life of my parents and grandparents living in London during WWII. Although I heard many stories over the years I didn't comprehend just how brutal and constant the night raids and bombings were. Penge (and nearby Beckenham), where my family lived was the most fly-bombed square mile in London.
Note: Page 420 describes Churchill sitting on the folded canvas top of an open touring car and states that in British English this is called a hood. Hood is an American term and the back of the car is called the "boot" in England.