"...a highly recommended read..." (France Magazine, May 2006)
Throughout history, waves of invaders have coveted the northeast corner of France: Attila the Hun in the fifth century, the English in the Hundred Years War, the Prussians in the nineteenth century. Yet this region – which historians say has suffered more battles and wars than any other place on earth – is also the birthplace of one thing the entire world equates with good times, friendship and celebration: champagne.
Champagne is the story of the world's favourite wine. It tells how a sparkling beverage that became the toast of society during the Belle Epoque emerged after World War I as a global icon of fine taste and good living. The book celebrates the gutsy, larger–than–life characters whose proud determination nurtured and preserved the land and its grapes throughout centuries of conflict.
It was in Champagne, France in 451 that Attila the Hun loosed his hordes against the remnants of the Roman Empire; where wine grapes grow today, 200,000 died in one day alone. Throughout history, rivals have coveted this corner of France: the English in the Hundred Years War, the Prussians in 1814 and 1870. And yet, this region, which historians say has suffered more invasions, battles, and wars than any other place on earth, is also the birthplace of one thing the entire world equates with good times, friendship, and celebration: champagne. "Champagne" is the story of the world's favourite wine. It will describe how a sparkling beverage that became the toast of society during the Belle Epoque survived the unprecedented conflict of World War I, becoming even more popular in its aftermath. We will meet gutsy, determined, larger-than-life characters bent on preserving their land - and their grapes. These characters see champagne for what it is: their heritage, their promise, and a wine that is part of their souls and the souls of their country."Champagne" will tell a story - one that has never been told before - of how the wine industry survived, how people moved their entire lives underground in order to save the liquid of the region. Thousands of ordinary people, plus 50,000 French soldiers and countless bottles of wine, lived side by side in the region's 300 miles of underground caves; choirs sang, orchestras played, schoolchildren learned, and kings and queens came to visit, all more than 120 feet below the surface, as bombs rained down overhead.
About the Author
Together, journalists Don and Petie Kladstrup are the authors of the best-selling Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure (Broadway 2001). They have both written extensively for The Wine Spectator. They divide their time between homes in Normandy and Paris.