Books: Great Men

An intimate look at Roosevelt and Churchill

The world gets nostalgic for great men. Plutarch felt similarly wistful around A.D. 100, when he wrote his wonderful Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans--shrewd side-by-side comparative biographies of dozens of bygone political characters: Demosthenes and Cicero, for example, Caesar and Alexander.

In Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship (Random House; 490 pages), Jon Meacham, the No. 2 editor at Newsweek, has written a handsomely Plutarchan study that weaves together the lives, characters and fates of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in the years of their wartime partnership. Most of the anecdotes have been...

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