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Publisher's Summary

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

What listeners say about Wine and War

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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Performance
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Story
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, terrible performance

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.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

In Vino Veritas

This is a vino-centric history of WWII. It is told in an anecdotal style that is quite entertaining if at times somewhat disjointed. The broader scope of the war and the global impact it had on the formation of the modern world are beyond the scope of this lighthearted work. This book relates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and does it in an engaging feel-good manner. For me it was a nice departure from the usual WWII histories I delve into. Much of the book revolves around the ways the French wine makers managed to preserve some of their best vintages from the hands of their Nazi occupiers. At times it has a Hogan’s Heroes vibe to it with the French underground seeming to run circles around the oblivious German overlords. And isn’t this the real story of war; that no matter how tough are the times, people will always try to triumph? This is the story of people placed in a bad situation and not only make the best of it but look beyond to a better future time when life might return to normal. I think this is the kind of thing historians are really looking for in by returning time and again to the battlefields of WWII. It is curious to find such a profound truth is such a simple book. Perhaps one must first wade through a panoply of thirty-hour “serious” histories of WWII to be able to discover it here.

Todd McLaren gives a fine narration. I always enjoy his slightly sarcastic delivery. His accents of French and German voices are decidedly from a native English speaking American intonation, but that’s OK because that is how I sound when I think them in my own head.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story, less than stellar pronunciations

As a lover of French wines, and a ww2 history fan, this book was very interesting. However, for having so many French words in it, you could tell the reader was not very well versed in French. It made made some words and regions unrecognizable to the readers who understand French. It ruined the overall flow and experience.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • TL
  • 03-05-13

fascinating

If you could sum up Wine and War in three words, what would they be?

compelling; historical; thrilling

What did you like best about this story?

the facts

Have you listened to any of Todd McLaren’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

never heard Todd McLaren before, but found his French accents, particularly the female ones, rather...distracting.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was moved, but not to tears.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Some great information, terrible, fake accents.

The book covers a lot of important material, but the story is rendered intolerable by completely unnecessary, tacky, fake accents. I just want the story itself, no need for the annoying, overreaching accents, it ruined the book for me. Awful.

If I could put negative stars for the performance I would, completely obtrusive.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant in every way!

As a vineyard owner, this book and collection of magnificent WWII stories of resilience and wine traditions had a very special meaning. As a common reader, it was fascinating. The narrator did a fantastic job as well. Without him, the story would have been lost.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

vineyard stories, economics of wine entangled WW2

we'll told stories of the wine industry and family vineyards during WW2. the french resistance infiltrated all sectors during the war. vintners struggled to maintain their vines and wine. germans appreciated their wines as much as the French, the former wanting/taking their wines, the latter hiding them. this book tells the real stories of those that lived through this dark time. engaging, you won't want to put it down!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great WWII history!

I have enjoyed studying WWII history all my life. The Wine and War story was completely different than anything I had ever read before. The history is fascinating and very well performed. Anyone who enjoys WW II history, will enjoy this book produced by Audible.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A very interesting read

If you enjoy wine and like history, then pour a glass and read a chapter here and there to learn the stories of famous wine regions in France and people involved in wine commerce during the World War II.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fun for Francophiles

Great story but the narrator could have done a better job pronouncing a lot of the French names, places and words. For a French speaker, that part was pretty deplorable at times, but don't let that divert your attention from the fascinating stories of what the French did to protect their wines and people when and where they could.