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Author Erik Larson on Churchill's Darkest Year

Evening Program

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0307S
$25 - Member
$30 - Non-Member
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.


On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next 12 months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to unite his country and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In his newest book, The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson (author of New York Times bestsellers The Devil in the White City and In the Garden of Beasts), creates a vivid portrait of London and Churchill during the Blitz, detailing how the prime minister taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson offers a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill, his family, and his cadre of close advisors.

Join Larson in conversation with Robert Costa, national political reporter for the Washington Post, as he discusses his extensive research for the book and his insights into how, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country together.


  • Purchase your copy of The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson here.
  • A limited number of copies with signed bookplates are available.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 in the “Coupon discount” section of Politics and Prose's check-out page.


  • Once registered, patrons will receive two emails: one is an automatic email confirmation and the second will include a link to the Zoom webinar as a follow-up (usually given within 24 hours of registration).
  • NOTE: If you do not receive your follow-up email from Zoom, please email Customer Service for assistance.


This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.