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Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times [Hardcover]

Don Kladstrup , Petie Kladstrup
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

17 Mar 2006
In this history of champagne, the authors show how this sparkling wine, born of bloodshed, became a symbol of glamour, good times, and celebration.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (17 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470027827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470027820
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 985,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"...a highly recommended read..." (France Magazine, May 2006)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 13 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book ha been extremely well researched. It is really a concise history of the people of Champagne. Very accurate.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Silly Nonsense 1 Mar 2007
By R. S. Vavasour - Published on
I found this book--which I finally threw down unfinished in irritation after the umpteenth faux "fact" was presented--trite beyond belief. I presume that a history is factual. This was not. The authors presented so much factually wrong, unsupported information and claims that I finally decided I could not justify spending more time reading it. For instance, they claim that both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette drank champagne with a last meal before their executions. Well, Louis did enjoy a fairly good meal--without champagne--before his execution. Marie Antoinette, however, was so brutally treated and degraded by her captors as the Widow Capet before hers that there most assuredly was no "last meal" for her, much less a champagne chaser. Her maid recounted the details of her prevailing upon her to eat a few mouthfuls of some vermicelli which she warmed up on her stove in her cell. If she drank anything it was water--likely from the nearby and very polluted Seine. Anyone offering her champagne would have most certainly ended up being arrested for royalist sympathies. With all the many fine sources out there on both of these executionsw, how can the Kladstrups get away with printing such trite, factually wrong drivel merely to add some silly patina of faux glamour to their thesis? Then they go on to describe the aristocrats being guillotined, describing how the victims were forced to kneel and put their heads on the block. Have the Kladstrups even the remotest familiarity with how a guillotine works?? There is no block. There is no kneeling. There is no cooperation by the victim whatsoever. Read any source on the topic. Yet again, the Kladstrups trot out rubbish which is not even factually close to correct. Their description of the executions of Desmoulins and Danton--whom they falsely claim were drunk and singing a drinking song as they awaited their executions--round out this litany of utterly fabricated nonsense by which they attempt to link champagne to just about every event in French history. So. With so much drivel and made up "fact", how can one trust, much less enjoy, any of their other assertions in this so-called history? Definitely a candidate for recycling--or the outhouse.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling story 15 Jan 2006
By Jon Hunt - Published on
Don and Petie Kladstrup's new book, "Champagne", is a serious but lively romp through the history of champagne...champagne, the drink and Champagne, the region. It is also a revealing look at the French and how they defended what became their national symbol through war and (literally) pestilence. Defend it they did, to their credit and our good fortune.

Written as a timeline, "Champagne" begins in the Middle Ages with an almost startling revelation....the bubbles in the wine, so essential to its success and taste in later years, were considered to be a flaw. The drink as we know it today must have borne little or no resemblance to what was consumed hundreds of years ago. The Kladstrups delve into many other aspects of the making and the keeping of champagne which are as engrossing as their sediment was handled, the trials and errors of storing champagne so the bottles would not explode, the care of the vineyards, and so on. I was surprised to hear that dry champagne was a rather late development and that its initial offerings were met with resistance as most people preferred their champagne to be sweet. The transportation of champagne is one of the more humorous parts of this offering.

As much as this book concerns itself with the product, it is even more a story of people and politics. The effects that wars had on the region of Champagne (and no one really knows where those boundaries begin and end) make it all the more surprising that champagne could ever have survived the onlsaught of armies inflicting a tremendous toll, most notably during World War I, on the vineyards and the people who owned and operated them. The tragedy of the levelling of the city of Reims during the war can be coupled with the infestation of the deadly phylloxera, which ruined crops for years.

The recurring theme in "Champagne", however, is the heart of the French people, who have overcome all of these assaults to secure their national pride through champagne. According to the commander of French forces in Reims, "as long as there is champagne here, we will defend it". That quote sums it up in the best possible way.

"Champagne" is as delightful a book as the drink itself. In fact, I'd suggest the reader pour a glass or two while reading it. Thank you, Don and Petie Kladstrup for giving us this wonderful history of champagne.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Abrupt end 26 April 2006
By LAR - Published on
I found the book an enjoyable read even though the authors' writing was a bit trite and simplistic. It did lack some flow in areas as the writers simply jumped from vignette to vignette, albeit they were all fairly entertaining. My biggest criticism is that the authors seemed to have lost interest in finishing the book. After taking us through several centuries of relevant history, approximately 60 pages was devoted to the plight of Champagne/champagne during WWI (which was, in my opinion, appropriate). However, only about 8 pages accounted for the WWII years, and then....the end! Apparently, there have been no new or interesting developments in Champagne / of champagne during the past six decades. I find this hard to believe, and is thus my biggest disappointment with the book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things you always wanted to know about champagne! 15 Mar 2012
By Teacher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. Not only does it make you want to drink more champagne but you appreciate all the effort and history of this glorious beverage!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect hostess gift.... 5 Mar 2012
By T. Corrigall - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
To give a bottle of champagne is nice but why not give a great book and easy read on the role of champagne during wartimes in Europe.
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