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Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure Paperback – Illustrated, April 30, 2002
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"Assured, detailed, highly readable . . . does honor to all those who labored to keep French wines from barbarous hands. An engrossing addition to the popular literature of WWII." –Kirkus Reviews
"[A] gem for wine aficionados and history buffs." –Boston Herald
"As exciting and interesting and pleasurable as wine itself." –Robert Mondavi, Chairman Emeritus, The Robert Mondavi Winery
From the Inside Flap
"To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine."
Claude Terrail, owner, Restaurant La Tour dArgent
In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknownuntil now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.
- Publisher : Crown; Illustrated edition (April 30, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0767904486
- ISBN-13 : 978-0767904483
- Item Weight : 8.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.51 x 0.64 x 8.22 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book covers the elaborate schemes enacted by the French to protect their valuable cellars, their vineyards and their wine-making operations from the looting, gluttonous Germans. Germany actually established "Weinfuhrers" whose sole responsibility was to organize the sourcing, purchasing and shipment of wines from France to Germany. The French winemakers learned to seal off sections of their cellars to avoid detection, to sell the Germans only their inferior wines, to make new wines look like old wines by dusting the bottles, and many other techniques.
A huge cache of fine wines was repatriated from Eagle's Nest at the end of the war in a bizarre and intricate wartime evacuation. Cases of wine were strapped onto stretchers and carefully lowered hundreds of meters to a waiting convoy of trucks. Soldiers stripped their tanks and trucks of non-essential equipment to make room for the precious cargo. This episode demonstrated the true reverence of the French for their sacred wines.
It's a well-researched book. The final ~14% includes Footnotes, Bibliography, Glossary, etc. In the Epilogue the author discusses how some of the oldest and most respected wineries re-established themselves after the war. There is a lot of interesting history and culture in this book, not only about wine, but about the wine dynasties and the resistance movement that helped France to retain its dignity and reclaim the great heritage as the finest winemakers in the world. I really enjoyed reading about places we had visited during our tour. We enjoyed a wine tasting in a 13th century cellar in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy and I wondered whether it had been bricked off during the war to protect the inventory.
as we drove from Paris to Champagne we started reading out loud, the portions that dealt with the Champagne region during the Nazi occupation. Absolutely fascinating, and sad of course, but gave a historical view that one wouldn't get otherwise
even if you don't travel to France, it's a very good read- we must never forget WW2 and those brave citizens that had to endure it
I've read Lilac girls, All The Light We Cannot See, The potato Peel Pie Society. They are all great fictional truth-based WWII stories. This is slightly more masculine and has that wine lovers spin.
In summary it is personal accounts as retold by the author, of many french civilians who lived through WWII and the thigns they had to do to keep live going and the anecdotes of the wine that connected them to the soldiers (American and others).
The stories in the book are compelling and illustrate the ability of the French people to protect their heritage and livelihood.
Well researched and written. Recommend any wine aficionado, historian or anyone who has an interested in understanding more about the occupation of France by Germany during WWII