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Extended Audio Sample Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, by Jon Meacham Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,463 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jon Meacham Narrator: Len Cariou Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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Meacham’s new sources—including unpublished letters of FDR’s great secret love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman, and interviews with the few surviving people who were in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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • 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. Warren F. Kimball, author of Forged in War: Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Second World War
  • 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.“
    —Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation
  • Franklin and Winston is a sensitive, perceptive, and absorbing portrait of the friendship that saved the democratic world in the greatest war in history. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., author of The Age of Roosevelt
  • 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. Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941–1945
  • 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. Richard Holbrooke, author of To End a War
  • Winner of the 2005 Colby Award
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • A San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller
  • A Publishers Weekly Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Beninbrooklyn | 2/20/2014

    " Very interesting part of the WWII story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Rendi | 2/18/2014

    " Interesting overview of a vital historical friendship. I especially liked how each of their relationships with Stalin were so different. It would have been interesting if Roosevelt were around longer. Churchill lived quite a long life in comparison. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kristopher | 2/9/2014

    " 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 upbringing by parents that were cold and distant. Roosevelt on the other hand was a master at being manipulative and keeping secrets. Eleanor didn't realize until after he was dead that FDR had been seeing an old flame that he had promised Eleanor that he would never see again. FDR also mistreated Churchill on several occasions for political gain when the big three - Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin would meet. FDR and Stalin would "gang-up" on poor Churchill. These episodes were all quickly forgiven and the two were good friends right up to the end of FDRs life. However, it did give me the impression that FDR was often kind of a jerk when he wanted to be. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Judy | 1/21/2014

    " 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. finally joins the war effort. (For example, Churchill visited the U.S. numerous times, but Roosevelt never did make it to England.) At the apex of the war, Franklin and Winston are as close as two men in such positions can be, but later on, when Stalin becomes part of the picture, Roosevelt intentionally leaves Churchill out as he jockeys for greater status for the U.S. Still, their complicated and intense personal alliance had a huge effect on how the war played out. There were so many wonderful insights in this book that I found myself reading with a pen in hand, underlining and making notes as I read. I developed even more respect for these two courageous leaders (and their wives), and plan to read more about them. "

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