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Le Vin et la guerre
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Le Vin et la guerre

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  1,439 ratings  ·  209 reviews
Liberty, equality, and fraternity are all well and good, a champion of French culture once remarked. But, he continued, what made France truly superior to its neighbors was the French passion for wine, which "contributed to the French race by giving it wit, gaiety, and good taste, qualities which set it profoundly apart from people who drink a lot of beer."

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Published (first published April 30th 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Feb 09, 2008 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: World War II buffs, Wine lovers
I love history books that approach a large topic, such as the Depression, or the American Revolution, or, in this case World War II, from a very specific point of view. That's what this book does. The French wine industry, long renowned for its outstanding beverages, also played a significant part in the economic and social climate of the war. Books like this, books with a very specific focus, are the best way to learn about history. You'll get more from a book like this than you will just about ...more
In no way must one be a wine afficionado to enjoy this wonderful book. What one must have is an appreciation of the culture of France, an important part of which is their wine. A symbol of national pride, wine was just one of many victims of the devastation wroght by World War II. From the common soldier all the way to the highest officials of the Nazi party, Germany pilfered France of their prized treasure. Hitler (who didn't even particularly like wine) stockpiled thousands of cases of "requis ...more
Jul 19, 2008 max rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: winos
Shelves: kitchen
It's hard to understand how important the wine is to the French; perhaps the best analogy would be how important sport is to us Americans. With too few male sluggers to form a baseball league while liberating the French, we pinch-hit the ladies. This book covers how the winemakers of France covered their cherished fields during far greater deprivations.

The challenge for amateur historians and husband and wife team Don and Petie Kladstrup is how to balance the routine horror of Vichy France, with
Dec 24, 2007 Shane rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wine lovers, history buffs
Shelves: non-fiction
The concept of this book is original and interesting, and is what initially got me reading it. It tells the story of various French winemakers and associated individuals as they struggled with German occupation through WWII. It's short (250 pages), easy to read, and generally interesting to anyone who enjoys wine, French culture, or wants to read an interesting take on WWII history.

While generally entertaining and somewhat engrossing, the biggest issue I had was the choppy storytelling. The auth
We have probably read 700-800 books over the past decade, maybe seven or eight of which have been non-fiction! But knowing we were wine aficionados, a friend lent us this historical account of how the French vintners struggled to save their wineries, their precious wine cellars, and of course, even their lives for that matter during the German occupation of France during WWII. The book reflects extensive research, and much of the anecdotal narrative recounts stories garnered by the authors direc ...more
This nonfiction book tells how French winemakers protected their wine and vines from the Nazis during WWII. It took me a few chapters to get into the story because it was difficult for me to keep all the French names straight, and I was too focused on understanding what part of France was being described. Once I let all that go and read it only for the stories, it became interesting (and eventually it was very easy to keep who, where and when straight). This is an interesting part of the history ...more
Pamela (slytherpuff)
Review originally posted at Bettering Me Up.

"To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine."
–Claude Terrail, owner, Restaurant La Tour d’Argent

I received this book from my grandfather (?) a decade ago. I wish I had read it when he was still alive so I could talk to him about the events in this book. Like me, he was a Francophile and we shared stories of the different trips we took around France. He fought in WWII, but never spoke about his time code-breaking. I wonder if discuss
Elizabeth K.
When I first read reviews of this, there was an awful lot of gushing about how magnificent it was that the French had doggedly withheld much of their best wines from the Germans during the occupation, often by hiding it in cellars and secret rooms, and as much as I like wine, I couldn't help but note that perhaps people who had the wherewithal to hide stuff from the Germans might have focused their energies on hiding other things as well. My interest was caught enough, though, that I picked this ...more
Perhaps because the French capitulated so early in World War II, there seems to not have been that many prominent books about WWII France. At least I have not come across them. The ones I have seen center on German activities/strategies/atrocities or D-Day or come from the British/American perspective.

This book was incredibly enlightening (for me) as to what went on in France during the Occupation. The writers did an excellent job of tracking down key players in the wine trade and learning their
Just when you thought all the WWII books had been written - along comes a new angle. I thought this was a fascinating look at the futility of the Hitler regime - exemplified by the systematic looting of French wine to stockpile his Eagle's Nest..despite the fact that Hitler did not even like wine. Or the 3 year effort to tunnel up a mountain for an elevator shaft to carry the wine to the Eagle's nest - later rendered useless by retreating Nazis. The Nazis come off as a group of boorish thugs in ...more
Disappointing book, especially as I had been looking forward to reading it for awhile; it does, after all, combine two things I love – wine and war . . .I mean wine and France. The book does include some truly interesting anecdotes about wine and winemakers in France during the Second World War. Otherwise I found the writing style annoying - especially the bland declarative sentences which serve as an opening to each chapter, and the cheesy made-up/dramatized dialogue, which didn't ring true (al ...more
WW II, as seen through the lens of France's greatest treasure, wine! I learned a lot about how integral wine is to French culture (There would seem to be a warren of caves used as wine cellars throughout the countryside), and I was entertained by the clever lengths to which the French vintners went to save their treasure from the Nazis. A short, easy read, following the lives and labors of several French people. I now have a clearer understanding of life during the occupation of France during th ...more
An interesting look at the French wine industry during WWII. Provides some insight into how people cope with an occupation, what it means to resist and collaborate and the attitudes of an occupier when the combatants are neighbors.

However, it is a bit light on history when the authors drift from the main topic, making some rather odd assertions (like the impact of mistresses on foreign and defense policy) with no analysis. I would guess this is more a defect of the type of history this is: easi
This is a collection of beautiful true stories surrounding the World War 2 German occupation of France. The tales are inspiring examples of heroism, bravery, and humanity. The writing is not really beautiful and the way the stories were told made it a little difficult to keep track of all the names of all of the members of the various French families that the book chronicles. Nevertheless, the stories speak for themselves and the research that supplements them is first rate. 4 stars!

For anyone who loves wine, perhaps is a Francophile or is just interested in WWII history, this is a good

read. It may seem like a rather dry topic but not at all. The things that people will do when they

share a common interest in and / or appreciation of something are incredible. The things that war

has forced so many to do ! The people who lived through and remember the effects of WWII are almost

all gone now but having grown up with my father's uniform in the closet, my parents war letters
This book was a treat. Even if you're not a history fan you'll appreciate the essays surrounding the protection of France's biggest treasure during World War II, wine. More history books need to be written with a singular focused subject like this. If you're looking for the inner workings of Hitler's Panzer tank division you've come to the wrong place.
This book had some very interesting stories in it. Unfortunately, the author jumps around a lot, especially back and forth through time. I got so frustrated with the jumping that I put it down twice and I don't know that I have the patience to finish the book.
Sandra D
Lively, engaging story of French winemakers' efforts to protect their legacy and livelihood from greedy Nazi invaders, though probably of more interest to oenophiles than others. Ironically, my favorite wine is a nice dry Riesling from Germany.
Great read- fascinating information and excellent personal stories.

Read my full review here:
Erik Moloney
The remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II.

"To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine."
–Claude Terrail, owner, Restaurant La Tour d’Argent

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 mob
I, like many people, have a fascination for the horrible things the Nazis did in Europe during WWII. I am especially fascinated by their large-scale looting operations. I knew about the looting of art throughout Europe but had no idea just how far their pillaging went. This book looks at how the wine makers of France were subject to just as much Nazi attention as the art collections of Europe. Millions of bottles of wine were sent to Germany. The vignerons and négociants throughout France had to ...more
This was of course a book about war, but it was principally a book about the French people and what it was like to live with the threat and the reality of life under German occupation. It was a life where all bets were off, where what was yours could cease to be yours on a moment's notice. The products of a lifetime of effort--carefully nurtured vineyards, cellars full of premium wines, beloved horses--could be taken away any instant on the whim of nearby soldiers or far-away military leaders. S ...more
Jesus Hills
This book is a fabulous look at the development and struggle of France's wine industry during WWII. It's very easy to read because of its narrative style that I would liken to an anthropological study of French wine. The tales of real people both French, German, American etc. reveals the importance that wine had in bringing people together, but also one of the prime motivation of the Third Reich to tear France down.

I enjoy wine but I am nowhere near an expert, but this book has inspired me to s
Laura Bradbury
I recommend this book to many of our guests who stay at our four vacation rentals in Burgundy, France . It is a wonderful introduction to a fascinating chapter of history - when the nazis occupied the wine-making areas of France during the second world war.

Burgundy was in occupied France, but the border with unoccupied France was very close (nearby Chalon I believe) so the area was a hotbed of resistance fighting, people smuggling, and conflicts between the French population and the German army
Carlotta Ungaro
This book is a real page turner and one that I hate when it ended. The book follows numerous people, family and wineries which, while can be a bit confusing, is worth it to get the full picture of what was going on during the German occupation. I had a used copy of the book and someone had written on the first page to read the glossary first. I don't speak French and the glossary was most helpful and highly recommend you do the same if you are not familiar with the language.

4.5 stars. I loved this book. Wonderful tales of French winemakers and wine lovers and their experiences in World War II under German-occupied France. The stories are at once heart-breaking by the tragedy, death, sacrifice, and loss they well as heart-warming by the humanity, joie de vivre, courage, defiance, love and eternal hope they celebrate. This book has inspired me to leverage the time I have remaining in Belgium to learn more about French wine.
Sue Gannon
I'm not much of a drinker, especially of red wine. But this book makes me want to go winetasting in France, especially to those wineries who bravely kept it going while dealing with the Nazi's unrelenting requisitions of wines and threats of imprisonment even while there were severe shortages of winemaking supplies. Amazing true stories of fortitude and courage under pressure and pretense while meanwhile working with the resistance.
The effect of war on wine, the French wine industry, and the lives of the winemakers and their families. Even more interesting, the role that wine played in WWII. I am continuously amazed about how influential wine is in society around the world. Great read for a WWII buff or for a wine buff--or even better, a wine-loving WWII buff!
I'm not big on reading history books, but this one is full of interesting personal stories, from the perspective of French civilians who lived through the Nazi occupation. Some were brave figures of the Resistance, some hid Jewish friends, and some were just trying to survive and preserve their wine and wine making businesses and traditions. The German "weinfurhers" aren't cartoon bad guys in this book. They are also complex people, trying to care for their families and not get sent to the Easte ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Renee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in WWII, but don't want a PhD in history
Recommended to Renee by: Carl Ford
Wine and War: the French, the Nazis and the Battle for France’s Greatest Treasure, by Don and Petie Kladstrup, tells the story, primarily through interviews, of how the German occupation of France affected the wine industry there. It’s history-lite, to be sure, but an interesting and informative read and one that doesn’t read like a textbook. It also tells the story evenhandedly; that is, not all the Germans were jackbooted thugs, but rather, that some had been business associates and even frien ...more
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“women, in some parts of France, were barred from the chai, or winery, during harvesttime. Their presence, according to superstition, would turn the wine sour.” 0 likes
“As in 1914, the government mounted an extraordinary campaign to help. Winegrowers were granted delays in being called to active duty, military labor detachments were sent to the vineyards and farm horses of small growers were not to be requisitioned until the harvest was completed.” 0 likes
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