During my free moments this week, I’ve been reading Winston and Franklin, the gripping story of the wartime friendship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. The book reinforces the thought that politics is the art of leadership applied to human relationships. These two very different men forged a close friendship that, as author Jon Meacham makes very clear, survived many ups and downs during the long years of World War II.
There are worthwhile quotes on almost every page and the book offers an amazing behind-the-scenes glimpse of these two men at the very pinnacle of their power. Near the end of the last chapter, there is a comment about Churchill’s defeat at the polls in 1945 when he lost his bid for reelection as Prime Minister. When asked later about the “ingratitude” of the voters who owed him so much for his leadership during the dark years when it seemed that Great Britain might not survive, Churchill chuckled and said, “Neither look for nor expect gratitude but rather get whatever comfort you can out of the belief that your effort is constructive in purpose” (p. 362). That strikes me as very good advice for all of us.