The Splendid and the Vile will cover the famed prime minister's first year in office

By Christian Holub
March 08, 2017 at 10:20 AM EST
Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images; Express/Express/Getty Images

With books like The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake, Erik Larson has established himself as one of the world’s premier nonfiction writers. But while books like In the Garden of Beasts centered around historically obscure characters, Larson’s next book will take on one of the most famous figures of the 20th century: Winston Churchill.

The Crown Publishing Group announced Wednesday that Larson’s next book will be tentatively titled The Splendid and the Vile and will tell the story of Churchill’s eventful first year as British Prime Minister amidst the escalating war with Nazi Germany. It will begin with Churchill’s appointment to the office on May 10, 1940, and will end a year later on May 10, 1941, the final and most intense night of the German Blitz. In a statement, Larson called the book “a kind of Downton on Downing,” and it will provide a comprehensive portrait not just of Churchill’s “Secret Circle” of political advisers but also his family (wife Clementine, son Randolph, and daughters Sarah, Diana, and Mary) as they navigate one of the most eventful years in British history.

Books on Churchill abound, but Larson’s is informed by new sources such as recently declassified government files and personal diaries. The Splendid and the Vile is currently set for a fall 2019 release.