Franklin and Winston An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

ISBN-10: 0812972821
ISBN-13: 9780812972825
Edition: 2003
Authors: Jon Meacham
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Description: 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  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/12/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.792
Language: English

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 onea 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 nationsyet 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 affectionswhich was the way Roosevelt wanted it. A man of secrets, FDR liked to keep people off balance, including his wife, Eleanor, his White House aidesand 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 sourcesincluding 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 companyshed 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. From the Hardcover edition.

Jon Meacham was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 20, 1969. He received a degree in English literature at the University of the South. He joined Newsweek as a writer in 1995. Three years later, at the age of 29, he was promoted to managing editor, supervising coverage of politics, international affairs, and breaking news. In 2006, he was promoted to editor at Newsweek. He is currently an executive editor at Random House. He won the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House in 2009. His other works include Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. In 2001, he edited Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement. In 2013 his title Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power made The New York Times Best Seller List.

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 earl of Birkenhead, said, "No one will welcome Mr. Roosevelt on his visit to England with a warmer hand and heart than we do." Then Roosevelt-to his "horror," he said-was unexpectedly asked to say a few words. He stumbled a bit as he began. Uncertainly, trying to find the right note, Roosevelt said he had been "given to understand that I should not be called upon to speak" and in his nervousness, looking around at the faces of his hosts, began to talk about the importance of the personal in politics and war. Citing the need for an "intimate personal relationship" among allied nations, Roosevelt said: "It is quite impossible... to sit at home 3000 miles or more away and to obtain that close man-to-man, shoulder-to-shoulder touch, which today characterizes the work of the Allies in conducting the War." Warming to his point, Roosevelt concluded: "We are with you-about ninety-nine and nine-tenths of 110,000,000 of our people are with you-in the declaration that we are going to see this thing through with you." In later years, Churchill would not recall meeting the American visitor. Roosevelt certainly recalled meeting Churchill, however, and long remembered Churchill's brusqueness. "I always disliked him since the time I went to England in 1917 or 1918," Roosevelt said to Joseph P. Kennedy, the American ambassador to Britain, in a conversation in 1939. "At a dinner I attended he acted like a stinker." Roosevelt and Churchill would not be in contact again for another twenty-one years. When they were, Churchill, not Roosevelt, would be the one sounding the trumpet about the indispensability of an "intimate personal relationship." The man who would bring them together: Adolf Hitler, a corporal who won the Iron Cross, First Class, six days after Roosevelt and Churchill dined at Gray's Inn.
they had been born eight years and an ocean apart-Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill on November 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire; Franklin Delano Roosevelt on January 30, 1882, at Hyde Park in Dutchess County, New York. They loved tobacco, strong drink, history, the sea, battleships, hymns, pageantry, patriotic poetry, high office, and hearing themselves talk. "Being with them was like sitting between two lions roaring at the same time," said Mary Soames. With Roosevelt in his naval cape and Churchill in his service uniforms, they understood the stagecraft of statesmanship. "There was a good deal of the actor in each," said Mike Reilly, Roosevelt's Secret Service chief, "and we Secret Service men who had to arrange their exits and their entrances found we were working for a pair of master showmen who were determined that no scenes would be stolen by the other." They were the sons of rich American mothers. Jennie Jerome married Lord Randolph Churchill in 1874; Sara Delano became the second wife of James Roosevelt in 1880. Roosevelt, the cousin of a president, came from the Hudson Valley, Groton School, Harvard College, and Columbia Law School; Churchill, the grandson of a duke, from Blenheim, Harrow, and Sandhurst. In a sign of how small the elite Anglo-American world in which they moved was, one of the wives of Winston's cousin the duke of Marlborough was romanced by Winthrop Rutherfurd, the husband of Franklin's illicit love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. As boys, Roosevelt and Churchill were obsessive collectors: stamps, birds, books, and naval prints for Roosevelt, toy soldiers and butterflies for Churchill. Cousin Theodore's legend fired young Roosevelt's political imagination; Lord Randolph's career fascinated his son. As children and young men, they read the same books: Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense, the naval writings of Admiral Thayer Mahan, G. A. Henty's boys' books about the glories of empire, Kipling's poems and fiction, and Macaulay's history and essays. They loved Shakespeare, the Sermon on the Mount, and movies-even bad ones.
At Omdurman, Churchill rode in a fabled cavalry charge, brandishing a Mauser pistol; went to the front as a battalion commander in the trenches in World War I; refused to leave London during the Blitz; preferred rooftops to bomb shelters during air raids; and had to be forbidden by George VI to strike the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. En route to Washington aboard the Queen Mary for a meeting with Roosevelt in 1943, Churchill waved away reports of German submarines, saying that he had had a machine gun mounted in his lifeboat. "I won't be captured," he said. "The finest way to die is in the excitement of fighting the enemy." They were deeply driven. Seated next to Violet Bonham Carter, daughter of Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, at dinner when he was thirty-three, Churchill said, "We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm." On his first American lecture tour in 1900, Churchill was introduced to a Boston audience by an American novelist named Winston Churchill (no relation). "Why don't you run for the Presidency of the United States?" the British Churchill asked the American Churchill. "Then I will become Prime Minister of England, and we can amaze everybody." Careening from hot spot to hot spot in the empire at the turn of the century, Churchill was aware of the impression his stark ambition made on others. Some of his critics, he wrote in a memoir, "proceeded to be actually abusive, and the expressions 'Medal-hunter' and 'Self-advertiser' were used from time to time in some high and some low military circles in a manner which would, I am sure, surprise and pain the readers of these notes." Roosevelt was stoked by ambition, too. By the end of his college years at Harvard, Roosevelt seems to have grasped what it would take to get what he wanted in life: a relentless drive. In an editorial addressed to the incoming freshman class at Harvard in 1903, Roosevelt, then president of the Crimson, wrote: "It is not so much brilliance as effort that is appreciated here-determination to accomplish something." The young Roosevelt was openly ambitious and privately anxious, and the war between these impulses came to the surface when he slept. "Sometimes he'd have nightmares and then he'd generally do very strange things," recalled Eleanor. "He was a collector of books and so one night I woke up to see him standing at the foot of the bed reaching for something. I said, 'What on earth are you doing?' and he said, 'I can't reach that book, and if I don't get it now I may miss getting it!' " Substitute any of life's great consolations for the book-love, office, fame-and we have a glimpse of the turmoil Roosevelt kept hidden from public view.
In their youth and early adult years, Churchill and Roosevelt could be unpopular with their contemporaries. As a young member of Parliament, Churchill was often isolated. "His parents' friends found him an interesting phenomenon; men of his own age thought him brash, offensive and arrogant," said Jock Colville. Roosevelt was blackballed from Porcellian, his father's and his uncle's Harvard club.
From the Hardcover edition.

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