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Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship Paperback – October 12, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
As the editor of Newsweek, Jon Meacham has written about war, politics, religion, and race--topics he also examines in his bestselling books. Visit Amazon's Jon Meacham Page.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is particularly remarkable in that the personalities and accomplishments of either man, and the overwhelming events they faced, could have swamped the tale in any direction. Indeed, one has to admit that Churchill tends to dominate. But his written and oral volubility naturally had that effect, and since Roosevelt ultimately carried the military trumps, and was the more elusive and interesting character, he more than holds his own.
I especially appreciate Meacham's light-handed, even deployment of his research material. One never feels that he is relying exclusively on one or two sources, or just transcribing his whole notebook. Instead, the depth and shading in the portrayal of each man extends to their primary family and professional relationships as well: Harry Hopkins, Eleanor Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and both Randolph Churchills, are people I now want to know better.
Meacham is going for something deeper and more tender than portraiture, however - a study of friendship, perhaps the least understood human relationship. I had no idea how much time they spent together, and each of their meetings is chronicled day by day for details of their actual interactions, and their real feelings about each other. I think he gets pretty close to truth - a relationship full of humanity, respect, affection, and genuine love, consummated in truly extraordinary circumstances.
All this, and it's a sensible length. Definitive, deeply satisfying, and highly recommended.
Meacham has done a great job of describing, in intimate detail, the relationship between these two men. I consider the book to be a true hybrid between a biography and a history because of the style of writing - intermixing details about the individual (the biography part) with situations in which the person played a role (the historical part). Meacham intertwines these two in remarkable fashion.
This is an important book that truly displays how Roosevelt and Churchill were not only political compadres, but were indeed friends. I greatly enjoyed how Meacham discussed, with such attention to details, those situations in which both men were involved and played a critical role. I also appreciated the way in which Meacham explained how those encounters bolstered the friendship between the men - and why.
Although the friendship was rocky at times, with Roosevelt bowing to political necessity in lieu of being true friends, there is no doubt in my mind, based on Meacham's book, that these two men were so much more than just political heavyweights - they were indeed friends.
Well, I didn't. It's not that Jon Meacham provides that much new material in this book--though there are some new letters and previously unreleased documents-it's that he molds what has been out there into a fascinating study of the personalities of the two men. I may not have learned new facts about these men but I gained greater insight into not only their friendship but also their marriages, their characters, and their lives from this study. Both men became more fully realized, more human, more alive in this book.
"Franklin and Winston" follows a simple, chronological structure. It begins with a phone call from Roosevelt to Churchill (who was not yet Prime Minister) at the onset of WW II in Europe; it ends for the most part with the death of Roosevelt and Churchill's inability to attend his funeral. In between, yes, you see all the major events of WW II on the European front. But you also see a Churchill trying to woo Roosevelt-and through his efforts, the neediness in his personality, the boy trying to please. You also realize the tremendous feeling that Churchill had for his American forebearers (his mother was American) and the sincere emotion that he was capable of even at the most difficult of times. With Roosevelt, you see the caginess of his personality, the boy who was the center of his parents' universe and now really was the center of the world. You see in greater depth the feeling that he did have for his wife Eleanor, even though he was spending time in his last days with his former love Lucy Rutherford. You see his ability to charm Churchill--and then turn off the charm.Read more ›
Franklin Roosevelt was elected to his first term as president about the same time I turned four. For fourteen years he was central to the radio broadcasts, newspaper stories and newsreels that came to us daily.
Beginning with the invasion of Poland in 1939, children were used to being admonished, "Be quiet! We want to hear the news!" Winston Churchill frequently figured in that news.
Reading Meacham's account of the remarkable friendship that grew up between the two leaders of the free and English-speaking world as they struggled with terrible losses of men and materiel and tragic defeats in battle and yet persisted on to win the war, I often could read only a few pages without pausing to wipe away tears and give myself a respite from the overwhelming pathos of their terrible responsibilities.
Nostalgia perhaps intensified my reaction, as old familiar terms like Tobruk, El Alamein, and Lend-Lease reverberated from my past, but surely no one could fail to be moved to tears by the closely personal, first-hand accounts of these two so humanly flawed but historically transcendent men.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Personal details of 2 great mens' actions in the defining moments (2039-2045) in the history of WWII and really of the WorldPublished 2 months ago by DKR'R
Not a war story. But, a story of a friendship that won the war. This is one for history buffs.Published 3 months ago by James Yarbrough
Winston Churchill saved the world at this point in history. If England had fallen Hitler would have controlled most of the free countries of the world and between Germany and Japan... Read morePublished 5 months ago by emile vitella
As a person born at the height of the Second World War, which shaped much of my life, reading this tale of events and it's two great leaders fills me with pride. Read morePublished 6 months ago by dcypher