Dinner with Churchill : The Prime Minister's Tabletop Diplomacy Hardback
by Cita Stelzer
A friend once said of Churchill "He is a man of simple tastes; he is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything." But dinners for Churchill were about more than good food, excellent champagnes and Havana cigars. "Everything" included the opportunity to use the dinner table both as a stage on which to display his brilliant conversational talents, and an intimate setting in which to glean gossip and diplomatic insights, and to argue for the many policies he espoused over a long life.
In this riveting, informative and entertaining book Cita Stelzer draws on previously untapped archival material, diaries of guests, and a wide variety of other sources to tell of some of the key dinners at which Churchill presided before, during and after World War II - including the important conferences at which he used his considerable skills to attempt to persuade his allies, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, to fight the war according to his strategic vision.
With fascinating new insights into the food he ate, the champagnes he loved, as well as original menus, seating plans and unpublished photographs, Dinner with Churchill is a sumptuous treat. The next best thing to being there yourself.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Short Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 06/10/2011
- Category: Biography: historical, political & military
- ISBN: 9781907595424
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Review by donnambr
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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>A great read if you have any interest in Churchill and/or this period of 20th century history.<br/><br/>**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.**