Churchill's American Network

Winston Churchill and the Forging of the Special Relationship


A revelatory portrait showing how the famed British statesman created a network of American colleagues and friends who helped push our foreign policy in Britain’s favor during World War II

Winston Churchill was the consummate networker. Using newly discovered documents and archives, Churchill’s American Network reveals how the famed British politician found a network of American men and women who would push American foreign policy in Britain’s direction during World War II—while at the same time producing lucrative speaking fees to support his lavish lifestyle.

Stelzer has gathered contemporary local newspaper reports of Churchill’s lecture tours in many American cities, as well as interactions with leaders of local American communities—what he said in public, what he said at private meetings, how he comported himself. Readers observe Churchill as he is escorted by an armed Scotland Yard detective, aided by local police when Indian nationalists threaten to assassinate him, while he travels in deluxe private rail cars provided by wealthy members of his network; and as he recovers from a near-death automobile crash—with the help of liquor prescribed by a friendly doctor with no use for Prohibition.

The links in Churchill’s network include some of fascinating American figures: the millionaire financier Bernard Baruch; the railroad magnate, Averell Harriman, who became an FDR-Churchill go-between; media moguls William Randolph Hearst (and wife and mistress); Robert R. McCormick—who attacked Churchill’s policies but enjoyed his company—and Charles Luce, who made him TIME’s Man of the Year and later Man of the Century; and bit players such as Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin, and David Niven.

It is no accident that Churchill was able to put these links together into an important network that served to his, and Britain’s, advantage. He worked at it relentlessly, remaining in close contact with his American friends by letter, signed copies of his many books, and by attending to their needs when they were in Britain. Many of these colleagues were invited to dinners at Chartwell and, later, Downing Street. Perhaps most importantly, Churchill’s network of American allies had Franklin Roosevelt’s ear while the president was deciding how to overcome opposition in congress to helping Britain take on the threat from Germany.

About the author(s)

Cita Stelzer received a BA degree from Barnard College, with a major in history, worked in educational publishing, and has been a stringer for the Financial Times. Cita served as special aide to New York’s Mayor John Lindsay and to Governor Hugh Carey, specializing in energy policy. She founded a public relations firm in New York City specializing in business development for law firms before joining an economic consulting firm specializing in regulatory policy.

She is a former member of the Churchill Archives Centre US Advisory board, President of the Arizona chapter of the International Churchill Society, a former Trustee of Wigmore Hall, the venerable chamber music venue in London, and has been a member of the Board of Trustees and Vice Chairman of the Aspen Musical Festival and School. Cita is also a Churchill Fellow of the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri.

She is the author of three books on Winston Churchill, Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table (2013), Working with Winston: The Unsung Women Behind Britain’s Greatest Statesman (2019), and Churchill’s American Network: Forging the Special Relationship (2023)


"Churchill embraced his dual heritage, and his long and circuitous path to 10 Downing Street was smoothed by supportive Americans seduced by his intellect and irrepressible energy. As Cita Stelzer explains in Churchill’s American Network, he would rely on this support throughout his life. Ms. Stelzer relies on 'hundreds of press reports' to produce a series of colorful itineraries." 


The Wall Street Journal

"In her charming new book, Churchill’s American Network: Winston Churchill and the Forging of the Special Relationship, author Cita Stelzer explains how this came to pass—in some respects, it was the culmination of decades of work. The young Briton continued to attract attention, including from American business and press leaders who recognized him as a rising star. These men and women proved key to developing Churchill’s budding American network. And it is here that Stelzer’s book really shines. The author details how Churchill cultivated a wide cast of influential Americans, some of whom, like the press magnate William Randolph Hearst, are well known, while others, like William McAdoo, a Treasury Secretary and future senator, have largely been forgotten."

Washington Free Beacon

“[A] lively account. Stelzer reminds readers that her subject was half American. As befitted his stature, he met the crème de la crème, including the president, Hollywood superstars, and wealthy industrialists, most of whom succumbed to his charms, often loaning him their mansions and private railroad carriages. A cheerful chronicle of Churchill’s excursions in America.”

Kirkus Reviews

"Cita Stelzer has brilliantly hit upon the key fact about Winston Churchill’s lifelong and intimate relationship with the United States. Although it was familial, strategic and political, it was overwhelmingly built on personal friendships, for which he had a preternatural gift. This superb book explores that phenomenon better than any other on the subject.”


Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny

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