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Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table Hardcover – 21 Jun 2017
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A delightful and delicious tribute to Churchill 's heroic appetite for wining, dining and politicking. --Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat
A feast for foodies and history buffs alike, Dinner With Churchill offers a delicious and easily digestible portrait of the culinary tactics that helped its subject win the cooperation of others and, in so doing, the global conflict that threatened to destroy everything he held dear. --Jay Stafford"
Acutely revealing. "
A delightful and fascinating book in which we are reminded that an evening dining with Churchill must have been one of the most memorable and enjoyable occasions one could have hoped for.--Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War
A delightful and delicious tribute to Churchill s heroic appetite for wining, dining and politicking.--Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat"
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.
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, Churchill quaffing - the best (and not so good) cuts and the great vintages are all on the table. Another bottle, please!--William Shawcross, author of Justice and the Enemy
About the Author
A freelance journalist and a Research Associate at the Hudson Institution, Cita Stelzer previously worked for John Lindsay, Mayor of New York, and Governor Hugh Carey. She is currently a Reader at Churchill College, Cambridge, and a member of the Board of the Churchill Centre and Trustee of Wigmore Hall.
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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.**
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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