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Wine and War: The French, the Nazis and France's Greatest Treasure Paperback – 4 Apr 2002
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According to Don and Petie Kladstrup in Wine & War: the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure, it was a well-known fact that Adolf Hitler did not like wine. Still, their leader's teetotalism notwithstanding, the Germans showed no distaste for French wine when they invaded France in 1940. Indeed, one of the first acts of the occupying army was to seize great stores of wine, sending tens of thousands of barrels to the Third Reich and ordering the conversion of thousands of hectares of vineyards into war production. Some French vintners, the Kladstrups write in this enjoyable study, went along with orders. Many others, however, including the heads of distinguished houses like Moe¨t et Chandon, engaged in daring and dangerous acts of resistance wherever they could. Some lied about their yields; others built false walls to hide precious vintages; and still others concocted elaborate ruses, such as sprinkling carpet dust into inferior grades of new wine to give it a musty, distinguished flavour. Not every German was fooled, and some partisans of the grape died for their troubles. But some Germans, at considerable risk to themselves, also looked the other way. The Kladstrups fill their pages with memories of the wine war from both sides of the struggle, stories sometimes sombre, sometimes amusing, that commemorate those "whose love of the grape and devotion to a way of life helped them survive and triumph over one of the darkest and most difficult chapters in French history". --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A sprightly and amusing book, full of spicy anecdotes (Evening Standard)
Entertaining and informative (Sunday Telegraph)
A vibrant panorama of the different wine-producing regions and how they responded to the challenge (Sunday Express)
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Top Customer Reviews
The collapse of the French forces in 1940 and the subsequent squirming of the vineyard owners to fit in somewhere between outright collaboration and outright support for the foreign agents and other riff-raff of the Resistance and Maquis is fairly well told.
I was interested to see that the French called the Germans who came to buy (not seize) wine by a pidgin phrase "les weinfuhrers"! One of the main "weinfuhrers" was a man whose family had owned a Bordeaux vineyard before WW1 and whose family had had that vineyard confiscated during that war. After the Second World War, the German returned and eventually bought another vineyard. Life goes on. Europe goes on.
A very good read on the whole.
A slight downside is the purely factual account of events. This creates a book that is somewhat disjointed in places, with little attempt to create a story that holds the piece together. Fascinating historical journalism, but more rhetoric may have added to the book.
However, I did find the absence of any mention of Britain's part in the war and de Gaulle's career a little hard to take.
I really enjoyed reading this, well researched book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent presentation of a very difficult time. Gives a very vivid picture of the pain and suffering that war inflicts on people and their work. Superb read.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this book for research purposes. I needed to know what happened to the vineyards and the wines in France when the Germans took control during WW11. Read morePublished 12 months ago by B. F. Orme
Don't know if my husband will love it but all round good service and item as described. Thank you!Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Could only have been Frenchmen to whom wine was (is) so important!Published 15 months ago by D. A. Collins
An interesting book that covers what it says on its cover...some interesting anecdotes which I'll get around to posting on my blog on the French Touraine region ... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jim McNeill
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