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Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table: The Prime Minister's Tabletop Diplomacy Hardcover – 6 Oct 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd; First Edition edition (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907595422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907595424
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 399,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A delightful and delicious tribute to Churchill's heroic appetite for wining, dining and politicking" - Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat. "What a wonderful repast Cita Stelzer has served us. History as it was consumed: Roosevelt sipping, Stalin gorging, Churchill quaffing - the best (and not so good) cuts and the great vintages are all on the table. Another bottle, please!" William Shawcross Cita Stelzer's delightful book... makes for hugely enjoyable reading, but there is a serious thesis lurking not too far behind the stories... The Churchill industry has been so productive in the decades since his death, and such libraries of books have been published, that an original take on his exceptionally well-documented life might seem impossible. However, with this readable "gastrobiography", Stelzer has succeeded brilliantly in producing one. --Sunday Times A must-read for Churchill connoisseurs, but general readers will find it vastly entertaining too. --Standpoint Acutely revealing --Times Literary Supplement Amusing and unpretentious... [an] entertaining assortment of Churchill anecdotes --Evening Standard 'Nobody could be better qualified to have written this book than Cita Stelzer.' Andrew Roberts

This charming book takes a new approach to the wartime prime minister... Wonderful details bring the leaders alive... The book also brings alive the food of the period... extraordinary --Literary Review

Amusing and unpretentious... [an] entertaining assortment of Churchill anecdotes. --Evening Standard

About the Author

A freelance editor and journalist, and a Research Associate at the Hudson Institute, Cita Stelzer majored in history and went on to work for John Lindsay, Mayor of New York and Governor Hugh Carey. She is currently a reader at the Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, and a member of the Board of the Churchill Centre (UK), and Trustee of Wigmore Hall.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Chris Warne on 14 Dec 2011
Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful theme for a book on Churchill. The Premier was well known for his dinner tete a tete, and all the main meetings are here: Newfoundland, Moscow, Yalta etc. As well as describing Churchill's table talk, it also gives us a good account of the dinner guests themselves; Stalin, Roosevelt, Eden. The book is light enough to describe the dishes devoured and the champagne that was drunk, while being engaging enough to highlight why these meetings were so important, and why Churchill was always keen to impress wih his banquets.

Superb!
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By CLJ67 on 20 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an intriguing little addition to the mountain of literature on Winston Churchill. It does not quite deliver what it promises: the initial suggestion, that it will shed light on the importance of Churchill's dinners to his diplomacy, is rather misleading, as really what it does is simply to note what he ate when he met world leaders, which isn't really the same thing at all. The latter part of the book, however, is a more straightforward focus on the great man's gastronomic tastes, and that certainly lives up to expectations. In general, this is a clever little study that works on several levels and is full of odd and charming (and sometimes quite alarming) details about what sustained one of the great leaders during his most important years in office. Brightly written and nicely paced, this is an easy and entertaining read that will be of interest to students of social, political and gastronomic history as well as to someone who simply wants a quirky insight into a much-discussed historical figure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Brown VINE VOICE on 3 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Dinner with Churchill was a pretty delightful look at Churchill's idiosyncrasies, love of food, mannerisms and foibles. I'd read certain accounts of the meetings and conferences of the allies but this was a new experience. Instead of Churchill the leader, the politician, we see Churchill in a light he certainly seemed to thrive under: Churchill the schmoozer, the socialiser, the conversationalist.

Ranging from recounted stories to notes made on menus or housekeeper's instructions, the captured moments in Dinner with Churchill show that even in wartime, Churchill could make a dinner party lively and full of debate. More seriously, however, Churchill was able to use this dinner party negotiation to arrange concessions or persuade Roosevelt and Stalin to agree to his ideas with a confidence the boardroom didn't allow.

Churchill's confidence has always astounded me. Knowing his fight with depression, his `Black dog', it is quite astounding that he achieved so much. To know that he could also play the entertainer, to charm and convince people, and to see this glimpse of the more private Churchill, at the dinner table rather than the parliamentary benches, was a quite fascinating - albeit at times slightly dry - experience.

A great read if you have any interest in Churchill and/or this period of 20th century history.

**I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.**
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 1 Jan 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an entertaining look at Churchill's `dinner party diplomacy': the way in which he used dinners, meals, and food as political weapons.

The author has done a very full job of uncovering the details of dinners, including menus, seating plans and, to some extent, atmosphere and intention. The dinners during the war are, inevitably, the most interesting: Churchill's dinner with Stalin in his Kremlin apartment; the ceremonial dinners given at Yalta by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin; the meeting at Potsdam in July 1945, and the dining that went with it. I especially enjoyed some of the anecdotes e.g. Churchill's villa at Yalta was rather short of bathing facilities so that generals and admirals had to queue in their dressing gowns for their morning wash and shave!

The second part of the book is a more general account of Churchill in relation to food, drink and, inevitably, cigars.
So this is attractive social history though it tends towards the descriptive rather than the analytical. The author is clearly enamoured of Churchill and some of her defences of him are perhaps a little rose-tinted: I'm not sure that Churchill's `first concern was for the British people's diet', not when he was dining off caviar, grouse and champagne while rationing was in force, but these little slips are forgivable.

Overall, a delightful read that offers a different slant on WW2 politics.
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