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TITLEThe prologue of Erik Larson's long awaited new novel is where he reels you in. Citing a recent move to New York City, he envisioned how it would have felt had he been a native New Yorker during 9/11, and how the people there dealt with the panic, tragedy and a new normal. He then reflected on what London would have gone through during WWII with bombings 57 nights in a row. Mr Larson relays these graphic details with his strikingly phenomenal new novel and gives you the shocking minute details never provided in school or the news. Most history books are dry. Mr. Larson's read like a novel and the facts will astound you.

This is a well-researched powerful story beginning on Churchill's first day as Prime Minister: the same day Hitler invaded Belgium and Holland. We follow Churchill for the next year and examine his actions under a microscope, including insight into his family life, how he needed to convince Roosevelt to enter a war the American public refused to be involved in, and how he was able to change the course of history by trying to combat a madman and his cohorts.

Churchill was not always reasonable or even nice. In fact some of his demands, like twice daily, 98-degree baths were eccentric, but we learn who he was--warts and all. Churchill was a great leader for many reasons, especially in uniting many to defeat evil. While we go through your life it is the decisions we make that define us. We hope we make the right ones and are on the right side.

The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (List price: $32.00, Crown), recommended by Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC.