From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on interviews with surviving staffers and other previously untapped sources, Newsweek managing editor Meacham delves into the deep and complicated relationship between the two men who may very well have been the most powerful men on the planet during the most threatening times of the 20th century. FDR and Churchill spent much time together (a total of 113 days), planning, eating, smoking and drinking many a cocktail, and Meacham fleshes out the men behind the public faces, revealing the intricacies and the sometimes raw opportunism of their complicated relationship. Veteran actor and audiobook reader Cariou's authoritative presentation is rock solid and gripping. His gravelly baritone is transformed into Roosevelt's calm yet commanding voice one minute, and Churchill's more bombastic British accent the next (though occasionally, his enthusiastic Churchill is reminiscent of the sinister aliens Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons). All in all, he does a wonderful job of capturing not only the friendship between the two men, but also the tensions that build as the world turns to war.
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After their first meeting, in 1918, Roosevelt said that Churchill was "a stinker" Churchill didn't even remember Roosevelt. But by their next exchange, in 1939, Churchill was convinced that Britain's future depended on getting Roosevelt to like him. Meacham's engaging account argues that personal bonds between leaders are crucial to international politics. He draws heavily on diaries and letters to describe a complicated courtship and, at times, seems amazed at what Winston is willing to put up with from Franklin. Churchill paints a landscape for the President, sings for him, and agonizes when his notes go unanswered; Roosevelt teases him in front of Stalin, criticizes him to reporters, and eventually breaks his heart with a diverging vision of the postwar world. But Churchill never gives up, and he later recalled, "No lover ever studied the whims of his mistress as I did those of President Roosevelt."
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
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