Mr. Churchill in the White House: The Untold Story of a Prime Minister and Two Presidents (Hardcover)

Mr. Churchill in the White House: The Untold Story of a Prime Minister and Two Presidents By Robert Schmuhl Cover Image

Mr. Churchill in the White House: The Untold Story of a Prime Minister and Two Presidents (Hardcover)

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“Robert Schmuhl admirably captures the vitality and cunning of Churchill’s D.C. residency with consummate skill, colorful anecdotes, and crisp historical analysis.”


—Douglas Brinkley


Well into the twenty-first century, Winston Churchill continues to be the subject of scores of books. Biographers portray him as a soldier, statesman, writer, painter, and even a daredevil, but Robert Schmuhl, the noted author and journalist, may be the first to depict him as a demanding, indeed exhausting White House guest. For the British prime minister, America’s most famous residence was “the summit of the United States,” and staying weeks on end with the president as host enhanced his global influence and prestige, yet what makes Churchill’s sojourns so remarkable are their duration at critical moments in twentieth-century history.



From his first visit in 1941 to his last one eighteen years later, Churchill made himself at home in the White House, seeking to disprove Benjamin Franklin’s adage that guests, like fish, smell after three days. When obliged to be attired, Churchill shuffled about in velvet slippers and a tailored-for-air-raids “siren suit,” resembling a romper. In retrospect, these extended stays at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue take on a new level of diplomatic and military significance. Just imagine, for example, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky spending weeks at America’s most powerful address, discussing war strategy and access to weaponry, as Churchill did during the 1940s.



Drawing on years of research, Schmuhl not only contextualizes the unprecedented time Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent together between 1941 and 1945, but he also depicts the individual figures involved: from Churchill himself to “General Ike,” as he affectionately called Dwight D. Eisenhower, to Harry Truman, and not to mention the formidable Eleanor Roosevelt, who resented Churchill’s presence in the White House and wanted him to occupy the nearby Blair House instead (which, predictably, he did not do).



Mr. Churchill in the White House presents a new perspective on the politician, war leader, and author through his intimate involvement with one Democratic and one Republican president during his two terms as prime minister. Indeed, Churchill had his own “Special Relationship” with these two presidents. Diaries, letters, government documents, and memoirs supply the archival foundation and color for each Churchill visit, providing a wholly novel perspective on one of history’s most perplexing and many-faceted figures.



Robert Schmuhl is the Walter H. Annenberg–Edmund P. Joyce Chair Emeritus in American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame. He’s the author or editor of fifteen books, including The Glory and the Burden about the US presidency.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324093428
ISBN-10: 1324093420
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English
Mr. Churchill in the White House showcases an essential point about the great Englishman’s visits to the United States. Common history and shared interests will move nations in the same direction. Yet sometimes it takes the force of personality to bind them together. Mr. Schmuhl, an emeritus professor of American studies and journalism at the University of Notre Dame, “has found a fresh angle by focusing on the White House visits themselves, from the intimacies of the close quarters to the tensions hiding behind smiling pictures."

— Wall Street Journal

Robert Schmuhl, author of Mr. Churchill in the White House, has annoyed me. What was meant to be a casual week-long read transformed into a captivating all-nighter flipping through the pages of a book I never knew I needed.

— International Churchill Society

If you know very little about the strategic issues surrounding World War 2 and the geopolitic world at the time, then this book is a must read for you. If you want to see what life is like when prying eyes are not on famous people, then this is your book. A tremendous amount of research went into creating this book. A companion to the classic, One Christmas In Washington.

— Mr. N - N.N Light's Book Heaven

This well-researched book... adds up to a fresh approach to an important piece of history.
— Kirkus Reviews

Historian Schmuhl (The Glory and the Burden) takes a novel approach to exploring mid-20th-century diplomatic relations between America and Britain in this winning history... The character portraits Schmuhl draws are vivid and transfixing as the leaders by turns cozy up and butt heads. WWII history buffs will be delighted.

— Publishers Weekly

Robert Schmuhl’s Mr. Churchill in the White House?is a lively, deeply researched and important contribution to our understanding of how large personalities confronting large challenges can change history.

— E. J. Dionne Jr., Georgetown University

A cursory online search suggests that 1,150 books have been written about Winston Churchill. He wrote 42 books himself, published in 70 volumes. Which raises the awkward questions: One more? Really? To which Robert Schmuhl’s cheeky answer is “Yes!” And you know what? Mr. Churchill in the White House is both charming and provocative. What did Churchill really say when FDR rolled his wheelchair into the British prime minister’s bathroom to find him in the pink and white altogether? Did these two brilliant and manipulative politicians ever permit friendship to overwhelm British or American national interest? It was a complex and meaningful relationship. Worth another book? This one? Absolutely.
— Ted Koppel, award-winning anchor, ABC News Nightline; senior contributor, CBS News Sunday Morning

Robert Schmuhl admirably captures the vitality and cunning of Churchill’s D.C. residency with consummate skill, colorful anecdotes, and crisp historical analysis.
— Douglas Brinkley, author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America

Churchill’s time at the White House became legendary, and no foreign leader has captivated the American people in the same way since.
— Matthew Costello, Director of the National Center for White House History

This is an informative, entertaining, and fast-paced account of Anglo-American summitry at the highest level, based on the accounts of those who were there.
— Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge