Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
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Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,359 ratings  ·  200 reviews
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 W...more
Paperback, 490 pages
Published October 12th 2004 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
”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
Fergie
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
CV Rick
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...more
William Blair
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
Barbara
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...more
Kristopher
Mar 04, 2012 Kristopher rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristopher by: Valerie Loveland
The focus is on the friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill which was at times difficult and strained. I already knew a lot more about Churchill than I did Roosevelt, and saw Churchill as a greater figure than Roosevelt. I know that FDR did great things for my own country, and that he was a great figure of the 20th century, but Churchill was just a much more likable character. The book helped me understand that Churchill had a deep-seated need to be liked due to his upbringin...more
Erin Rogers
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
Caroline
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...more
Robert Hill
What the prose of Jon Meacham lacks in beauty, it makes up for in the scholarship of his research. One of Roosevelt's inaugurals early in his presidency speaks of issues which resonate today. He spoke of the basic rights of all peoples in the world, among them the right to worship as one chooses and the right of worker's to fair wages. Roosevelt's last speech written just days before his death was about ushering in the age of the atomic bomb. Roosevelt spoke of the need to exercise a science of...more
John Gronner
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.

John
Katie
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...more
J.M. Slowik
I have to be fair. I've been reading a lot of excellent non-fiction, and this is just the latest example. Yet I keep giving out five star reviews, which might suggest I'm being less than strictly critical. But regardless of the sequence, or the consecutive love-letter quality of my reviews lately, this one is amazing.

It is exactly what its title reports: a study of the friendship between FDR and WSC. Though 'study' might make it sound academic, when in fact this is accessible to and aimed at gen...more
Chris
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.
Kathleen Rybacki
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.
The Book Maven
If you pick up this book looking for a tome on military history, I have to tell you that you'll be disappointed. However, if you come around for a book that takes an entirely human angle in its approach to FDR and WSC, you'll be very well-pleased.

A deep look at the lives of these leaders this book is not; rather--as I am sure you can gather from the title--it focuses on one particular element and time in these men's lives: when together they worked to defeat the Axis Powers, and forged a remark...more
Jeni Enjaian
I loved this book. It was absolutely fascinating. Meacham expertly split his narrative between Franklin and Winston, a task that's not easy to do. It made me more than eager to read the Last Lion. (I'm currently on the reserve list at the library for two of the three volumes.) I would love to be able to write a better review but I have only one thing left in my notes. (That's what I get for not writing the reviews right away.) I finished the book with the thought of just how striking the connect...more
Susan
But wait…If you like U.S. history and especially World War II history and want to get an inside view of the relationship between these two giants, you will love this book. Neither is really my “cup of tea,” as you know if you follow my reviews.

The insights I enjoyed most, however, dealt with FDR and his relationships with women other than Eleanor, especially Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd who exchanged love letters with FDR. Those have now surfaced. Her husband was much older. They had one child togethe...more
Tom
I found I enjoyed Jon Meacham's Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship more than I did his American Lion: A Biography of President Andrew Jackson, though this may be due to either a better abridgment or my own sentiments on the subjects of this book, as I have more of a personal fondness for Churchill and FDR than I do Old Hickory.

That said, this book is not without flaws. While the audio reading covers all of their experiences and their friendship during the World War...more
Brian
Jon Meacham presents an interesting portrait of two leaders in World War II and the way they united the allies. This book is not meant to serve as a book on World War II and diplomacy but on the relationship between FDR and Churchill. In doing so the author presents a unique perspective that has not been looked at in many of the countless World War II books. The personal relationship of these two men (much like the personal relationship of their enemies Mussolini and Hitler) drove and shaped the...more
Greg Pettit
The book's title is very accurate: this is not so much a history book, but rather a very specific look at the friendship between Roosevelt and Churchill.

It was a very entertaining read, nonetheless. The author clearly had strong opinions about the character of the two men, so many stories seem selected to support that opinion. Meacham paints FDR as the aloof, popular kid and Churchill as the always-trying-to-be-accepted not-so cool kid. Of course there are degrees to both of those characterizati...more
Karen
Dense and intricate, Franklin and Winston is a masterful expose into the relationship among two powerful men in a time of valor, war and danger. In the throes of the violent WWII, Winston and Franklin are two undivided friends that must stand tall in face of the enemy, while commanding their countries. Meacham presents all of this in the utmost detail, from primary source quotations to intricate metaphors between the two men. However, Franklin and Winston should not be read as a history novel (t...more
Judy
When Roosevelt and Churchill first met early in their careers, they did not like each other. They came from completely different backgrounds. However, when they are thrown together again as the powerful leaders of the United States and Britain during the early days of World War II, a deep friendship develops. As Meacham points out, however, it is usually Churchill who is the suitor and Franklin who plays hard-to-get, partly because Churchill has to beg the U.S. for aid for so long before the U.S...more
Melissa
The last paragraph of Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham:

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...more
Shair
Nov 25, 2008 Shair rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, but especially those interested in American history
Recommended to Shair by: My Dad
At long last! I finally finished this wonderful book. A week or so ago, I received a notice from Goodreads, "You started reading this book 219 days ago." Yeah, yeah. Thanks, Goodreads. For the record, the fact that it took me well over 200 days to read it is not a reflection on the quality or the level of difficulty of this book. It's easy to read, as far as historical texts go, and it's a pleasure. I read it in bits for the better part of '08 whenever I was in between readings for class or for...more
Denise
Now I know why all social settings are described as "political" Playing to others moods and catering to needs of the stronger alpha male. Spinning information and news to suit their needs. It all started with politics.

Roosevelt seemed like the bully in the friendship with Winston nipping at his heels striving to be taken seriously. But it's interesting how the "two most powerful men" were able to successfully take down the axis of power. Interestingly, it was Winston who saw the dangers of Hitle...more
matt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Craig
This book takes an interesting angle on these two leaders...delving into the human qualities of these two men, and the relationships that was required to lead these two countries through WWII from a diplomatic perspective. While clearly the relationship of these two men were as close friends, and these times helped to smooth some ruffled feathers in the political relationship, it is easy to see how these two with differing personalities, to use the English expression, got on. The relationship be...more
Rachel
This was an interesting book, though a bit starry-eyed for me. It chronicles the friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II, attempting to characterize the way they each viewed and developed their relationship.

Interestingly, Meacham describes the relationship as being somewhat one-sided: he casts Churchill as the needy friend who would do anything for Roosevelt, and who adored him publicly and privately; and Roosevelt as the popular kid -- someone cold and so...more
Corinne
This book is exactly what the title states-- a portrait of the intimate side of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill's friendship.

The story itself chronicles their relationship and provides some insight into their personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and how their interactions were unique. Interesting insight into two people who helped shape the world as partners through World War II. Meacham looks behind the masks to the very human men underneath-- shows how often they were tired, sick...more
Dorothy
Good summer read for history buffs. Meacham peppers his narrative with anecdotes about the two giants of World War II- some are funny, some are poignant, and others should have been left in the vault, as they provided no insight whatsoever . I found his psychological assessment of Churchill intriguing. Churchill was one of the most driven political figures in the twentieth century, and Meacham argues that this motivation stemmed from a desire to please his awful (and perpetually unsatisfied) par...more
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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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