Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
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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Meacham’s new sources—including unpublished letters of FDR’ s great secret love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman, and interviews with the few surviving people who were in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.
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His nurse by tying a string at the top of a short flight of stairs, Eleanor recalled, “hoping his nurse would not see it. She did not see it, and she and the supper tray fell down that short flight of stairs.” Roosevelt liked being in control, and he liked to win. “Mummie,” the young Franklin once said after being scolded for being bossy with other children, “if I didn’t give the orders, nothing would happen!” From his first moments Roosevelt was accustomed to being heeded—even, in his own mind,.
Said that the most important thing in the world at that time was the conduct of the war and it was absolutely necessary that Harry be in the house. That settled that.” The fit among Harry, Louise, Eleanor, and the White House had not turned out to be a good one. Daisy Suckley’s diaries chronicled Louise’s struggle to become part of the surpassingly strange Roosevelt domestic sphere: “She is pretty, and I think has all good intentions, but she’s ‘not very bright,’ as the P. put it one day, and.
Ed., Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, II, 130. The Americans agreed WSC, VI, 1160. In July, Tokyo had Burns, The Soldier of Freedom, 108–110. “Western Hemisphere Defence Plan No. 4” CWP, III, 1047–1048. “They are sending us” Ibid., 1061. would ask for another $5 billion Ibid. “The war goes on upon” Ibid., 1065. “I fear the President” Churchill, The.
Merely an odd weekend here or there and occasionally a day or afternoon spent at Chartwell,” Mary wrote. “It was not easy, however, for her to find a suitable moment to ‘ease up,’ and she hated the idea of leaving Winston, even for a week, in these hard and anxious days.” The meeting with Roosevelt provided the perfect opportunity: Clementine slipped away for a rest cure while Churchill went to Newfoundland. “I have massage, osteopathy hot & cold showers etc. etc.—but nothing to eat so far but.
September 1942 which had any chance of success unless the Germans become utterly demoralized, of which there is no likelihood,” Churchill wrote. “Have the American staffs a plan? If so, what is it? What forces would be employed? At what points would they strike? What landing-craft and shipping are available? Who is the officer prepared to command the enterprise? What British forces and assistance are required?” Compelling words, and they would hit their mark. Churchill was fascinated by his.