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 unknown - until 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 those extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.
©2001 Don and Petie Kladstrup (P)2012 Tantor
The book is a collection of interesting, moving stories about people from various wine regions of France during the German occupation. The performance is so theatrical it nearly ruins the book.
The text is a collection of essentially unrelated stories covering 1939-46 France. There are some recurring characters, but mostly the stories are self contained and told at a very personal level. There is some reflection about the war in general and the currents of history, but the focus of the book is on individuals. The stories are funny, passionate, sad and inspirational. The writing is very good and all major regions get a nod.
The performance is terrible. The reader affects an outrageous French or German accent (think Monty Python accents) every time a character speaks--even though they are all speaking in English. He even has some English and American accents later in the book. When you have a German arguing with a Frenchman the rapidly switching accents require tremendous effort to follow and I felt it contributed nothing to the text. Add in some over-acting and his Hitler is almost unbearable.
Most history books mention that France quickly fell and then was liberated several years later but the time in between is rarely examined. The authors do a good job of describing the daily uncertainty and moral ambiguities of living and working in an occupied country. They do not appear to have a bias and manage to portray some of the occupying Germans as complicated characters, not caricatures.
I enjoyed the text but almost couldn't finish the book because of the overly dramatic performance.
compelling; historical; thrilling
never heard Todd McLaren before, but found his French accents, particularly the female ones, rather...distracting.
I was moved, but not to tears.
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