This is a wonderfully written history of England's Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, during his time in office. It sheds light on both the personal side of his life and the extreme challenges that he faced during the war. There are many amusing stories woven in between the war effort and his family provides interesting history as well. I found the accounts of the bombings and the impact on daily life fascinating. I am sure that there was a vast amount of material available to work from and the real challenge for the author was deciding what to leave out. Even at 500 pages, it still felt like a simplified version of things, making it easy to devour. Another great Erik Larson book!
Winston Churchill is probably one of the most quoted men of his time. I've always thought he must have been a fascinating person; so when I found out that Erik Larson had written a nonfiction account of some of the most important times of the British people, I decided this was an opportunity to learn more about him. It begins in May of 1940 when Churchill formed a coalition government.
In the opening pages, the author tells readers that this is nonfiction; every nod and sigh was mentioned by someone in their writings about the time in question. However, this story is about a wider group of people than Churchill's compatriots. It includes his wife, Clementine, their children, and spouses. After reading this book, I cannot imagine why Pamela Digby (Randolph's first wife and Pamela's first husband) ever married. Randolph comes across as the worthless son of a great man. He was a mindless spendthrift, only concerned with his own wants and needs.
What makes this book unique is the extensive use of private journals and primary sources (that have been released in the last few years). It is interesting to see how the horror of the bombing of Britain is set against the normal life events of the 18-year-old Mary Churchill. It must have been incredibly hard to lead a normal life while another country was trying to bomb you out of existence.
I thought this was a tightly-written nonfiction story about an important part of the 20th century. Truly, the story proves that Winston Churchill was a fascinating person. 4.5 stars