If Erik Larson writes the book, I read the book. It’s one of my simple rules of life. All the more so when he writes about one of the most dramatic periods of history, the so called London Blitz of 1940 and 1941 when Great Britain withstood aerial bombardment by Nazi Germany.

Larson’s latest book is The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz, published by Crown. Larson is also the number one New York Times bestselling author of two of my most memorable reads: The Devil in the White City and also Dead Wake, among other titles. If you’re looking for an engrossing read during the coronavirus quarantine, I recommend this book.

You’ll be immersed in the life-and-death struggle of a nation and its dynamic leader in their confrontation with Nazi tyranny. I read the book before the world stopped spinning, but recent events gave me a new perspective on the timeliness of this work. And it even made me wonder about the role of religion or lack thereof in this and in that previous crisis. Where can courageous, moral leadership be found in these turbulent times? Are we even capable of mustering a common morality in this increasingly post-Christian society? It strikes me that President Trump has not featured religious leaders alongside business leaders and scientists in his press briefings. And few have even noticed their absence.

To learn more about our era by learning from the past, we’ve invited Erik Larson to join the Gospelbound podcast. Listen for Larson’s best recent read and his list of other narrative nonfiction writers he enjoys.


This episode of Gospelbound is brought to you by Southeastern Seminary. In a disenchanted world looking to themselves for answers, Southeastern’s three-year Doctor of Ministry in Faith and Culture plants graduates at the intersection of theology, culture, and church to bring the world a better story—the gospel. Learn more at sebts.edu.