“It is not given to human beings—happily for them, for otherwise life would be intolerable—to foresee or to predict to any large extent the unfolding course of events.”
—Winston Churchill from his eulogy for Neville Chamberlain, November 12, 1940.
Erik Larson’s latest book begins with this quote. If you’ve ever read a book about a serial killer and the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the last crossing of the Lusitania, an American family in Hitler’s Berlin, the inventor of wireless and Britain’s second most famous murderer, or the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, you may be familiar with Erik Larson. I recommend all of these and just started his new book, “The Splendid and the Vile,” which looks at Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz.
The book describes London during Germany’s aerial assault of 1940-41 with fifty-seven consecutive nights of bombing, followed by escalating nighttime raids. Fifty-seven nights. In an interview, I heard Larson say that no one knew who would die during the bombings, but you could guarantee that someone would. What a terrifying thing to go through. It makes quarantining seem positively cozy.
While I keep wondering what the future will bring, I know that it wouldn’t help to know if something even more terrible was waiting in the wings. (Are the locusts on their way?) Imagine being told last summer of the pandemic waiting to emerge.
Whatever the future brings, we here at Quality are always interested in improving your manufacturing process and we’ll continue to do so as the pandemic evolves. Whether we’re writing about continuous improvement amidst the uncertainty or perhaps, eventually, how locusts can help with lean manufacturing, we’re here for you.
If you have any feedback on the magazine—or want to share your thoughts on the future—please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful that my family and friends are all healthy now, and I hope you and your family are as well. No matter the course of events, I think Churchill can provide some perspective. According to Larson, Churchill taught the British “the art of being fearless.” Let’s follow his lead.