Franklin and Winston

Franklin and Winston

An Intimate Portrait of An Epic Friendship

Book - 2003
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The most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history's towering leaders

Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the greatest leaders of "the Greatest Generation." In Franklin and Winston, Jon Meacham explores the fascinating relationship between the two men who piloted the free world to victory in World War II. It was a crucial friendship, and a unique one--a president and a prime minister spending enormous amounts of time together (113 days during the war) and exchanging nearly two thousand messages. Amid cocktails, cigarettes, and cigars, they met, often secretly, in places as far-flung as Washington, Hyde Park, Casablanca, and Teheran, talking to each other of war, politics, the burden of command, their health, their wives, and their children.

Born in the nineteenth century and molders of the twentieth and twenty-first, Roosevelt and Churchill had much in common. Sons of the elite, students of history, politicians of the first rank, they savored power. In their own time both men were underestimated, dismissed as arrogant, and faced skeptics and haters in their own nations--yet both magnificently rose to the central challenges of the twentieth century. Theirs was a kind of love story, with an emotional Churchill courting an elusive Roosevelt. The British prime minister, who rallied his nation in its darkest hour, standing alone against Adolf Hitler, was always somewhat insecure about his place in FDR's affections--which was the way Roosevelt wanted it. A man of secrets, FDR liked to keep people off balance, including his wife, Eleanor, his White House aides--and Winston Churchill.

Confronting tyranny and terror, Roosevelt and Churchill built a victorious alliance amid cataclysmic events and occasionally conflicting interests. Franklin and Winston is also the story of their marriages and their families, two clans caught up in the most sweeping global conflict in history.

Meacham's new sources--including unpublished letters of FDR' s great secret love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman, and interviews with the few surviving people who were in FDR and Churchill's joint company--shed fresh light on the characters of both men as he engagingly chronicles the hours in which they decided the course of the struggle.

Hitler brought them together; later in the war, they drifted apart, but even in the autumn of their alliance, the pull of affection was always there. Charting the personal drama behind the discussions of strategy and statecraft, Meacham has written the definitive account of the most remarkable friendship of the modern age.
Published: New York : Random House, c2003.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780375505003
Branch Call Number: 940.5309 MEA
Characteristics: xx, 490 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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Aw_19 Mar 02, 2016

This was a unique approach to two major historical figures of the 20th century. Meacham gives you an inside look into how the these leaders interacted, argued and strived to achieve their own interests all while defeating the Axis powers. If you have any interest in the Second World War, Churchill or Roosevelt, then this should be on your bookshelf.

Jun 19, 2011

This is a fascinating study of one of the most important relationships of the 20th century. Although Churchill could not recall having met FDR at the tail-end of WWI, they opened their relationship soon after Churchill returned to the cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty.
The book is more intimate in tone than others I have read on this subject. Without this close association it is conceivable that Great Britain may have been subjugated by Nazi Germany. The relationship spawned that curious arrangement known as lend lease which sidestepped America’s Neutrality Act when public opinion there was dead set against involvement in the European war.
While Roosevelt grappled with public opinion, he helped as much as he dared. As their relationship grew deeper, the author treats it almost as if it was a love story. We watch Churchill on the haunt and succeeding with FDR even though his character was more elusive than Churchill’s. Both men had many things in common- patrician by birth, private school educations (public school in Churchill’s case) Exposure to the naval forces – Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty twice and Churchill as Under Secretary of the Navy in WWI. Both endured hardships dissimilar but character building. Both were used to and possessed commanding presence. Both were great actors on the political stage. Both men had a far reaching view of events – perhaps FDR’s was a longer view but both men realized the danger of Nazi Germany.
We see the relationship go through it ups and downs especially when Stalin entered the picture. The author notes how FDR turned on Churchill ganging up on him with Stalin. Churchill chagrined and angry but was always eager to continue the relationship. The deep sadness that Churchill felt at FDR’s death, we see them at their many conferences making far-reaching decisions on the progress of the war. We also see the sadness that pervaded Churchill when he realized that America was going to overtake Great Britain as a world power.
This is an excellent book, with great in-depth research and fine writing. Those who have an interest in one of the pivotal moments of history should read this book and those who have heard a little bit about the relationship between Churchill and FDR should also enjoy this book.


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