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Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  4,690 Ratings  ·  282 Reviews

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 W
Paperback, 490 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 30, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: presidents-staff
”There are memorials to Roosevelt and Churchill just inside the West Door of Westminster Abbey. The first, a gray tablet that hangs far below a window depicting Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve tribes of Israel, reads: TO THE HONORED MEMORY OF FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, A FAITHFUL FRIEND OF FREEDOM AND OF BRITAIN. Nearby, a large, dark green marble slab lies on the floor of the great nave, its inscription simple but profound: REMEMBER WINSTON CHURCHILL. On sunny days in London, light slips ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Apr 02, 2016 Lewis Weinstein rated it it was amazing
An utterly charming portrayal of the friendship (and disagreements) between the two men who (with Stalin) led the fight against Hitler. There is lots of inside information, reactions from people who knew them, as well as their own notes and communications. And of course there is an overview of the history.

Bottom line ... We are lucky to have had such leaders during a very fragile time for democracy.
Jan 25, 2014 Fergie rated it really liked it
Meacham does a fine job dissecting the personal and political friendship of perhaps the two most important figures in the 20th century. While neither man was perfect, each must be given his due for what he accomplished for his country as well as for the world in a time of mass upheaval and danger. Students of history should acknowledge that, as Churchill & England stood on the precipice of disaster and defeat at the hands of Hitler, America watched from the sidelines, content and happy in it ...more
William Blair
Dec 28, 2009 William Blair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Continuing my attack on recent (well, this one is 2003) books covering the events and personalities of World War II, this very entertaining book by Jon Meacham (the editor of Newsweek, whom you have no doubt seen on Charlie Rose's PBS television show) adds itself to the list of those with new and interesting information because of recently declassified (or recently disclosed personal) documents. The (obvious) angle with this book is the intense personal relationship that developed between these ...more
CV Rick
Dec 03, 2009 CV Rick rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
I know a lot of people liked this book, but I found it lacking in many areas. For one the narrative is repetitious to the point of tedium. Over and over again we are told, rather than shown, that these two men, Franklin and Churchill admire and respect each other but that every element of this partnership is tinged with self-interest, or in their case the interest of their respective nations.

The books starts by jumping around through time and the author seems to be taking clippings from various
Doreen Petersen
Aug 14, 2016 Doreen Petersen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
Excellent book!! Loved reading about the friendship between Franklin and Winston. Would definitely recommend this one!!
This book is an intimate description of a facinating relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill and their personal and political relationship prior to and during World War II. It is intimate because nuch of the new material comes from diaries, correspondence and material unavailable previously. The book is almost a day to day account of their experiences during the war. It exposes both the best and worst qualities of each man including cigars, alcohol and some intimate friends ...more
Erin Rogers
Aug 27, 2012 Erin Rogers rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-finction
A really unique book! Jon Meacham brings to life the friendship between two of the greatest men of their time: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. While Meacham stresses that his book is not a history book but rather a look at the relationship between the President and Prime Minister, one can't help but absorb the historical events surrounding the letters and meetings of these two men. Such a tumultuous time in history required the leadership of larger-than-life personalities, and t ...more
Oct 17, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
Why one more book about Winston Churchill or Franklin Delano Roosevelt? There are so many published, so many quoted and well-read. Manchester's "The Last Lion" started me on a lifetime fascination with Mr. Churchill. Amateur American historians all have read "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor" by Doris Kearns Goodwin and delighted in Goodwin's excellent writing and lovely personal tidbits about the couple who shaped America and the world during World War Two.

So why this delightful little re
Jul 15, 2015 Charlie rated it liked it
This was an informative and compelling drama about the relationship between two of the most important men in the twentieth century. Meacham explains how close the world was to Nazi domination if not for the courage of Winston Churchill and the English people and at the same time showed how Franklin Roosevelt pulled the reluctant American public from isolationism to the most powerful democracy in the world. These two men are painted as visionaries, but visionaries with human souls and faults.
Nov 05, 2014 Martha rated it really liked it
Both my husband and I enjoyed this book. We think we know all there is to know about an historical figure and then a book like this comes along and gives us more insight into a character. Churchill's War Rooms are calling!
f the 'Special Relationship' has ever existed and been anything more than a product of the wishful thinking of British Prime Ministers, it was forged in the years of the Second World War, as a result of the relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. I doubt our two countries have ever been closer - politically, military and personally as well.

This book charts the evolution of the real bonds of affection between Churchill and FDR, bonds which were often strained by politica
Jan 18, 2016 Dj rated it it was amazing
While this book is written with the larger issues of World War II as the backdrop, it really does focus on the friendship between FDR and Churchill. While the friendship isn't presented as all roses, the author does feel that it was an actual friendship. Maybe a tad more honest on the side of Churchill that on the side of FDR, but a friendship none the less. The author doesn't pull punches and shows the best and the worst of both individuals, in a way that is rarely written about in the greater ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing
As far as Meacham's books go, this one falls squarely in the middle. I absolutely loved American Lion but wasn't terribly fond of The Art of Power. Meacham promises "an intimate portrait of an epic friendship" and certainly delivers that throughout the course of this book in a very readable way.

My boss bought and loaned me this book after I got her to read American Lion, and we both read through the first 100 pages very quickly. After Churchill and Roosevelt's initial (surprisingly) disagreeable
Jul 07, 2015 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, history, war
This detailed examination of the friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill is a well done, enjoyable read. Author Jon Meacham used extensive resources and in-depth research to bring these two twentieth-century titans to life. Although he provides good background, the book is concentrated on their relationship years, which began in 1939 and ends with Roosevelt's death on April 12, 1945. Meacham does a superb job of developing the characters of the two men and their interplay wit ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Sambasivan rated it really liked it
Prodigious research. If one were to summarise the overwhelming quality of the two legends - 'magnanimous' for Churchilll and 'opportunist' for Franklin Roosevelt. What you see is what you get in the case of Winston Churchill who lived life king size and motivated the British to achieve the impossible during the Second World War. Franklin, on the other hand was a great President who took care of the American interests and deftly maneuvred both Stalin and Churchill together and was the main reason ...more
Feb 20, 2016 Sher rated it liked it
An interesting read about the political and personal relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. You can appreciate the book more if you have already read about WWII and if you have read biographies of each man; otherwise, the story might be hard to follow, because this book really focuses on the relationship of each man's personality in relationship to the other man's. The backdrop WWII. One of the men was dominant according to the author. I learned some things about FDR's na ...more
I like Meacham's biographies. I think this one didn't grab me as much, because of the split focus. By its very structure, the book winds up being somewhat of a "compare and contrast" discussion. So, rather than considering each man on his own history/personality/merits, there is more of a comparison. To me, this is weaker, because I found myself always deciding which man I liked better or thought was handling the situation better - and there seemed to be less thought given to the particular fact ...more
Jan 15, 2010 Elizabeth rated it liked it
I enjoyed Meacham's book and once again was struck with the notion that the western world lay in the balance and but for the intervention of the U.S. in WWII, things might have been different. It is always more interesting to read history when portrayed through personalities and both Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were bigger than life. It also struck me again how different the world was in the 1940's in terms of the power of the President and influence of the Prime Minister and how di ...more
John Gronner
Nov 19, 2008 John Gronner rated it really liked it
I was fascinated by the power and vision that the 2 men had that shaped the world during and after WWII. It appears that F&W fashioned the United Nations practically single-handedly into what it is today. Both were visionaries but
Franklin more so. C was so right in his misgivings of Stalin and they turned out to be true.

The look into their private side was also revealing.

If you like history and want a glimpse of WWII read this book.

Aug 24, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
This book charts the relationship between FDR and Winston Churchill and uses this as the base from which to discuss the various World War II conferences. It certainly adds a helpful light on these conferences, sometimes being very tough on FDR with his treatment of Churchill toward the end of the war when our goals started to shift into different directions.
Feb 13, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-it
A wonderful book. I loved it (obviously). I love history & politics, so I was drawn to this & was rewarded. Meacham's research was so thorough that he made these historical giants human & they came alive for me. Reading this made me wish my parents were alive to discuss the war with me & it's affect on their lives. I will probably read it again some day.
Dee Anne
Nov 25, 2016 Dee Anne rated it it was amazing
I'm a sucker for anything about these guys, and this was charming and illuminating to boot.
Apr 06, 2015 Raffi rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, biography
I wasn't fascinated by the style nor by the content.
Dec 21, 2012 Peregrina651 rated it really liked it
I should have re-read this before we visited Yalta.
Dec 20, 2016 SeaShore rated it liked it
Winston Churchill was seven years older than Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Jon Meacham set out to offer similarities and differences that ocurred between these two high strung leaders; both obsessive collectors of stamps, birds, books, toy soldiers; both loved Shakespeare; both with a passion for politics and war.
They spent hours together enjoying eclectic company. FDR was the 32nd President 1933 to 1945.
From the Autumn of 1939 to Pearl Harbor, more than two years later, Britain was Roosevelt's bes
Mrs. Quinn
Nov 10, 2016 Mrs. Quinn rated it really liked it
I’ve read a lot of books about Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, so I wasn’t sure what I could learn by reading Jon Meacham’s historical non-fiction book, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship. The first chapters of the book introduced the two men by alternating between their lives before they first met. Both had served many years in service to their countries and they had actually met once, right after World War I. Following the Nazi takeover of most of Europe ...more
Dick Reynolds
Nov 19, 2016 Dick Reynolds rated it it was amazing
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill met for the first time as U. S. President and British Prime Minister respectively in August 1941. Both took ships under great secrecy from their home countries to meet off the coast of Newfoundland. This was to be the first of several historic meetings and was convened at the urging of Churchill who desperately wanted America to enter the European war. Britain had been under German air attacks for many months and wanted American help with weapons, amm ...more
Drew Widney
Simply marvelous. I read this after I read Martin Gilberts biography of Churchill and I found more tidbits of history in this book that were new. Just a delightful read and you learn how different these two men were as well as how special their relationship was. All fans of history should enjoy this.
Jan 03, 2017 Tom rated it it was ok
This was the second of so-called "friendship" books that I've tried to read, but, just can't do it. While someone claimed that Meacham is the next David McCollough, I would not agree, at least not yet any way. BTW the other "friendship" book I tried to read was "Affection and Trust: The Personal Correspondence of Harry S. Truman and Dean Acheson 1953-1971".
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this book 1 20 Sep 04, 2008 07:05PM  
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Jon Meacham is the editor of Newsweek, a Pulitzer Prize winning bestselling author and a commentator on politics, history, and religious faith in America.
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“In the closed circle of the war cabinet, pounded by terrible report after terrible report, there had been uncertainty about whether he could fend off the drift to exploring a deal with Hitler. The determination of the larger group trumped the tentativeness of the smaller, and Churchill fulfilled his role as leader by disentangling himself from defeatism--one of his singular achievements at the end of May 1940.” 1 likes
“The service--a moved Roosevelt called it the "keynote" of his meeting with Churchill--was working a kind of magic, which is one of the points of liturgy and theater: to use the dramatic to convince people of a reality they cannot see.” 1 likes
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