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Franklin and Winston
Cover of Franklin and Winston
Franklin and Winston
An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history’s towering leaders Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe most complete portrait ever drawn of the complex emotional connection between two of history’s towering leaders Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were the...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    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.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    CHAPTER 1

    TWO LIONS ROARING AT THE SAME TIME

    A Disappointing Early Encounter- Their Lives Down the Years-The Coming of World War II


    In the opening hours of a mission to wartime Europe in July 1918, Franklin Roosevelt, then thirty-six and working for the Navy Department, looked over a typewritten "Memorandum For Assistant Secretary" to discover what was in store for him in London. Reading the schedule's description of his evening engagement for Monday, July 29, Roosevelt learned that he was "to dine at a function given for the Allied Ministers Prosecuting the War." Hosted by F. E. Smith, a government minister and good friend of Winston Churchill's, the banquet was held in the hall of Gray's Inn in London. It was a clear evening-the wind was calm-and Roosevelt and Churchill, the forty-three-year-old former first lord of the Admiralty who was then minister of munitions, mingled among the guests below a portrait of Elizabeth I.

    What were Roosevelt and Churchill like on this summer night? Frances Perkins knew them both in these early years. A progressive reformer, the first female member of a president's cabinet-Roosevelt would name her secretary of labor after he was elected in 1932-Perkins saw their strengths and their weaknesses. She first encountered Roosevelt in 1910 at a tea dance in Manhattan's Gramercy Park. Perkins was a graduate student at Columbia, already immersed in the world of social causes and settlement houses; Roosevelt was running for the state senate from Dutchess County. "There was nothing particularly interesting about the tall, thin young man with the high collar and pince-nez," Perkins recalled. They spoke briefly of Roosevelt's cousin Theodore, the former president of the United States, but Perkins did not give this Roosevelt "a second thought" until she ran across him again in Albany a few years later. She watched him work the Capitol-"tall and slender, very active and alert, moving around the floor, going in and out of committee rooms, rarely talking with the members, who more or less avoided him, not particularly charming (that came later), artificially serious of face, rarely smiling, with an unfortunate habit-so natural that he was unaware of it-of throwing his head up. This, combined with his pince-nez and great height, gave him the appearance of looking down his nose at most people." Later, the toss of the head would signal confidence and cheer. In the young Roosevelt it seemed, Perkins said, "slightly supercilious." She once heard a fellow politician say: "Awful arrogant fellow, that Roosevelt."

    Perkins had also spent time with Churchill when she visited pre-World War I England. He was, she recalled, "a very interesting, alert, and vigorous individual who was an intellectual clearly." Churchill, she would tell President Roosevelt years later, "is this kind of a fellow: You want to be careful. He runs ahead of himself, or at least he used to." He was stubborn, Perkins said, "so sure of himself that he would insist upon doing the thing that he thought was a good thing to do. He was a little bit vain. He thought people were old fuddy-duds if they didn't agree with him." Her bottom line?

    "He's pig-headed in his own way," Perkins said. "He's often right and brilliant, but . . ." But. She left the sentence unfinished.

    The Gray's Inn dinner was a glittering occasion, with high British officials going out of their way to pay homage to Roosevelt as the representative of their American ally. Hailing Roosevelt as "the member of a glorious family," Smith, who later became the...

About the Author-

  • Jon Meacham received the Pulitzer Prize for his 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson, American Lion. He is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, American Gospel, and Franklin and Winston. Meacham, who teaches at Vanderbilt University and at The University of the South, is a fellow of the Society of American Historians. He lives in Nashville and in Sewanee with his wife and children.

    Grover Gardner’s narration career spans 25 years and over 550 audiobook titles. AudioFile magazine has called him one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and features him in their annual “Golden Voices” update. Publishers Weekly named him Audiobook Narrator of the Year for 2005. His recordings have garnered 18 Earphones Awards from AudioFile and an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers’ Association.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Roosevelt and Churchill became friends through their mutual defense of the free world during WWII. The detailed story of how that friendship unfolded and deepened reveals their personalities and the social processes they used in making their mega-decisions. This salutary biography challenges the narrator's skills with dual principals, but Grover Gardner's comfortable pace smooths the jumps between the two lives and two governments into a consistent narrative. Gardner doesn't do characterizations, thereby missing some opportunities for color in the abundant quotations by men who loved to talk. Experienced biography aficionados looking for a low-cal intellectual dessert should taste this plethora of minutiae on two twentieth-century titans. J.A.H. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 4, 2003
    Meacham, managing editor of Newsweek
    (editor, Voices in Our Blood), delivers an eloquent, well-researched account of one of the 20th century's most vital friendships: that between FDR and Winston Churchill. Both men were privileged sons of wealth, and both had forebears (in Churchill's case, Leonard Jerome) prominent in New York society during the 19th century. Both enjoyed cocktails and a smoke. And both were committed to the Anglo-American alliance. Indeed, Roosevelt and Churchill each believed firmly that the "English-speaking peoples" represented the civilized world's first, best hope to counter and conquer the barbarism of the Axis. Meacham uses previously untapped archives and has interviewed surviving Roosevelt and Churchill staffers present at the great men's meetings in Washington, Hyde Park, Casablanca and Tehran. Thus he has considerable new ground to break, new anecdotes to offer and prescient observations to make. Throughout, Meacham highlights Roosevelt's and Churchill's shared backgrounds as sons of the ruling elite, their genuine, gregarious friendship, and their common worldview during staggeringly troubled times. To meet with Roosevelt, Churchill recalled years later, "with all his buoyant sparkle, his iridescence," was like "opening a bottle of champagne"—a bottle from which the tippling Churchill desperately needed a good long pull through 1940 and '41, as the Nazis savaged Europe and tortured British civilians with air attacks. One comes away from this account convinced of the "Great Personality" theory of history and gratified that Roosevelt and Churchill possessed the character that they did and came to power at a time when no other partnership would do.

  • AudioFile Magazine NEWSWEEK Managing Editor Jon Meacham explores the enduring friendship that developed between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during the course of their careers. Beyond ushering the world through the second great war, the two leaders developed an intimate relationship that led to scores of personal correspondences and the spending of holidays together. Tony Award winner Len Cariou reads the account in a warm, stately voice, altering his tone and accent just slightly to differentiate the comments of the two men. Cariou captures with ease the personalities of these elite world leaders and the characters who surrounded them. With just the right amount of drama and depth, Cariou and Meacham portray the unique bond between two of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. H.L.S. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation "This is at once an important, insightful, and highly entertaining portrait of two men at the peak of their powers who, through their genius, common will, and uncommon friendship, saved the world. Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston takes its place in the front ranks of all that has been written about these two great men."
  • Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., author of The Age of Roosevelt "Franklin and Winston is a sensitive, perceptive, and absorbing portrait of the friendship that saved the democratic world in the greatest war in history."
  • Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941--1945 "Jon Meacham has done groundbreaking work by focusing on the World War II alliance between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill as a friendship. Using important new sources, he has brought us a shrewd, original, sensitive, and fascinating look at the many-layered relationship between these two towering human beings, as well as their friends, families, aides, and allies. The book reveals the emotional undercurrents that linked FDR and Churchill--and sometimes estranged them--and teases out which of the ties between them were heartfelt and which were based on raw mutual political need. Meacham triumphantly shows how lucky we are that Roosevelt and Churchill were in power together during some of the most threatening moments of the twentieth century."
  • Richard Holbrooke, author of To End a War "The relationship between FDR and Churchill was the most important political friendship of the twentieth century, not only determining the outcome of World War II but also setting a pattern that has endured ever since. Jon Meacham brings it to vivid life, shedding new insights into its strange and poignant complexity, and why its legacy has helped shape the modern world."
  • Warren F. Kimball, author of Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War "Jon Meacham enlivens the two men, their families, and their personal relations and relationships, providing a human context for the world-shaping leaders of the Anglo-American alliance during the Second World War."

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