Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: Jon Meacham
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Genres: Biography & Memoir, North America, Military
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published In: September 2017
# of Units: 11 CDs
Length: 13 hours, 30 minutes
Tell Your Friends:



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Meacham’s new sources—including unpublished letters of FDR’ s great secret love, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, the papers of Pamela Churchill Harriman, and interviews with the few surviving people who were in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.

Reviews (4)

Written by Sarah Suplee on July 31st, 2015

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The book has renewed my interest in Roosevelt. At first I thought I could not read one more book about him, but this one approaches him from a completely different way making him more human.

Franklin and Winston

Written by Will on May 20th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

This was very long and slow. I understand that much of the material was gathered from letters/writtings from the time but found this brought very little excitement to a what should have had me on the edge of my seat. I found that I was slumped over my seat with boredom.

Franklin and Winston

Written by Anonymous on May 10th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book was great. I learned a lot on many levels.

What a lot of Research

Written by Anonymous on September 18th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Compiled from diaries and letters an interesting review of history and what transpired between these two men, their personalities and what made them "tick"

Author Details

Author Details

Meacham, Jon

Jon Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek. Born in Chattanooga in 1969, he is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The editor of Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement, Meacham lives in New York City with his wife and son.