Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table” as Want to Read:
Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  444 ratings  ·  64 reviews
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
Hardcover, 301 pages
Published October 9th 2011 by Short Books Limited
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dinner with Churchill, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dinner with Churchill

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  444 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table
At the 20% mark, I wasn't thrilled. The blurb says it all well. The first introduction expands on this & is a bit long. The second isn't quite as long, but pretty much reiterates both. The text, so far, seems to just expand on these, but without any binding thread. We're bouncing all around from 1930 through the 1950s without rhyme or reason. There is little in the way of first hand accounts, just factoids scattered about. It's trivia. As another reviewer mentioned, it's like a museum tour. Ther ...more
The audio version of this book was entertaining, but I can't say it added all that much to my knowledge and appreciation of Winston Churchill. Like good after-dinner conversation, the book bounced around among various topics, time periods, people, and events, all related in a witty, companionable style. It made for good listening, and the theme (food and drink) was a novel way to approach the subject. Kudos for mining what was obviously a rich vein in the Churchillian mines. ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
3 1/2 stars really. I liked the idea and the many stories sprinkled throughout, but I agree with some of the other reviews that this book is all over the place. Good material in need of a stronger editor.

The most important element of this book for me was Stelzer's debunking Churchill as a drunk. According to her research, Churchill didn't drink nearly as much as he liked to put on, and apparently no one ever saw him "drunk" or impaired. He watered down his whiskey to the point that it was practi
Jeff Kelleher
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Lavish stage settings but no performances.

Enroute through Scotland to Newfoundland for his August, 1941 meeting with Roosevelt, Churchill ordered a grouse hunt outside Perth for the Presidential dinner that would come later aboard HMS Prince of Wales. Is that interesting? Yes it is, along with a hundred other details showing Churchill's extreme care in planning and carrying out dinner parties as instruments of statesmanship.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked four months later, the US public was in a
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Winston Churchill is one of my favourite historical figures. His time as Prime Minister in Britain, particularly during WWII is really interesting, and he is a memorable historical figure - not least for his sense of humour, moving speeches and his resilience in the face of setbacks.

However, this book was average, boring and redundant. It focuses on how Churchill used dinner parties as opportunities to win over people and discuss important political and military strategies, including the Preside
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I think most readers have had exposure to World War II history. Most of us have at least cursory knowledge of the big players - FDR, Churchill, Stalin. I was attracted to Dinner with Churchill because of its subject matter - Churchill's use of the dinner table to forward his policies. We're talking food here - and cocktails, and conversation!

Churchill is an iconic figure. His size, his cigars, his whiskey, his indomitable spirit. He has always been a symbol of Britain's steadfast resistance to t
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, history
The author’s purports to show the importance of Churchill’s dinners to his diplomacy, but is somewhat weak in developing this part of the book. On the other hand the book does reveal Churchill’s gastronomic taste. Eating, drinking and smoking habits were part of Churchill’s persona in his later years. The book covers these areas in great detail. Stelzer keeps pointing out that WSC followed the 19th century manner of formal dining with fancy china and cutlery and multiple courses. All dinners wer ...more
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-history
Available for download as a 5+-hour unabridged audio book, well-read and ideal for sheltering in place. A knowledge of the general outline of C.'s life is helpful, but not required.

Also, an excellent companion while cooking for (and washing up after) self and family during pandemic, since the book is a nearly-ceaseless record of people (usually Churchill, but also others) eating interesting food, lovingly described, while behaving with grace and style during difficult times.

In my sight, the aut
Sevim Tezel Aydın
Dinner with Churchill is informative, engaging and entertaining account on some dinners, lunches, breakfasts and picnics in the years surrounding World War II. Cita Stelzer focuses on Winston Churchill’s dinner diplomacy with interesting detail such as historical background, famous diners, communication strategies, menus, table settings, cooking tips…
I enjoyed the book, it was interesting to read how Churchill turned “mealtimes into information-exchange seminars, international summits, intellig
William DuFour
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An interesting new take on Churchill and what, when and how he ate. An overlooked subject.
Really, this deserves 3.5 stars. Dinner with Churchill is a fairly delightful look at the banquets and dinners and eating and drinking habits of the King's First Minister, before, after, and mostly during the Second World War.

If there's anything holding the book back, perhaps, it's the rather sweeping claims about Churchill's dining representing so much of his character. I know the normal school of thought when it comes to history requires a thesis, but this one may have been a bit...stretched
Mar 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-my-library
I have been reading Manchester's "The Last Lion," and this was nice change of pace. Excellent but not-too-intense overview of Churchill's dinner diplomacy. It would probably not be interesting for those who aren't acquainted with Churchill's life -- but it is fascinating for a Churchill enthusiast. And I think that the appendix of "Diners" is the real treasure. It contains brief biographical sketches of significant guests -- who just happen to be major figures in UK and US politics. ...more
Jim Zubricky
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I consider myself a pretty good bibliophile on Churchill (although I'm working my way through the three-volume biography). This book is a very nice, easy, light reading on the subject of food, liquor, cigars: the things that Churchill loved. More importantly: how did Churchill use dinner parties to work his "magic" and win people to see his point of view. If you're interesting in Churchill, or hosting parties, or looking for a quick read, check this book out.

A light, but still an entertaining, review of Churchill's use of social settings to achieve substantive political and personal goals. The stories about his interactions with FDR and Stalin are particularly enjoyable. ...more
Scott Vander ploeg
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Author a little too in love with her subject.
Cole Kephart
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cita Stelzer (author of Dinner with Churchill) is most certainly a genius. Her grandeur attempt at describing the raw culinary power of Sir Churchill was not only a requiem for a political mastermind, but a love letter to Churchill enthusiasts such as myself. In Dinner with Churchill, Stelzer not only paints a picture of what Churchill was like in a diplomatic setting, but what it was like to dine with him. Mrs. Stelzer made it possible to know Sir Churchill, as if we were having tea together. T ...more
The first third of the book is very interesting - includes menus and conversations from Churchill's dinner with FDR and Stalin, as well as others. Churchill believed that food and conversation were the way to solve problems. He didn't like it when the US or USSR hosted and had music during dinner! The second third of the book is about rationing, and certainly made it easy to understand what made Churchill popular with the British people. He made sure everyone suffered from rationing to the point ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it liked it
There is no doubt, Churchill was a great man. You have to be over the top interested in Churchill to be looking for a book about what he ate, drank, and smoked. I did go looking but rather stumbled upon this at a used bookstore.

The book is filled with amusing morsels but it is hard to argue that it offers much serious analysis. By virtue of Churchill's position on the world stage most of the dinners described included one or more figures of similar stature.

The author never really convinced me th
Andy Dollahite
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. My major complaint is the book fails to cogently outline Churchill’s policy/diplomacy at the dinner table. It reviews, in frequently alluring detail the meals and delicacies he imbibed and devoured. And it outlines the political players assembled for such events. But it failed to connect all of it under a coherent thesis. In terms of a providing a cheat sheet for Churchill’s culinary preferences and some of his work lobbying the Americans and the Soviets, it’s decent. I’d really only ...more
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Fascinating deep dive into Churchil's 'dinner table diplomacy' and the importance of it during conferences at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam during and after the war. The book also sheds an interesting light on de interaction between 'The Great Three' during such occasions with moving anecdotes.

Structure of the book is somewhat random and at times all over the place. An example here is how the chapter on rationing schemes seems like a stand-alone addition rather than following the common thread of
Mary Pat
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
A re-hashing of so many anecdotes that are better told elsewhere, with wonky copyediting where you have inset boxes thrown on the page haphazardly, breaking up one's reading. I can only imagine how this looked in e-book version.

It really didn't take all that long to read when I actually sat down to read it. It was just so boring, I kept setting it aside for more interesting books. I'm donating it to my library sale .. maybe someone needs help going to sleep.
Sandy Kennedy
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dining as policy and brand infrastructure

Its what’s sensed that counts and Churchill’s use of controlled, managed, or simply exploited events involving multiples of sensory inputs was masterful and a net plus for WWII allies. Well written, informative sans burden.
Harriett Gamer
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good for Thought

An unconventional view of history. Easy read but informative especially for the casual reader. There are quite a few quotables.
Nancy Shaffer
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really good book; a history book that reads like a novel, with bios at the end of the book on 120 people who dined with Mr. Churchill.
May 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's only so many meals I can read about. ...more
Michael Delaware
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting look at an aspect of life of one of our centuries greatest men.
Mar 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
I thought there would be more on the policy-making and less about the dinners themselves.
Mark Paul
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great angle, built on previous research!
John DeRosa
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
A side of Churchill I certainly overlooked. Who knew so much could be learned by his approach to eating?
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it

"Really the PM is a lunatic: he gets in such a state of excitement that the wildest schemes seem reasonable. I hope to goodness we can defeat this one." -Oliver Harvey, Eden's Principle Private Secretary

"My wife and I tried two or three times in the last forty years to have breakfast together, but it didn't work. Breakfast should be had in bed alone. Not downstairs after one has dressed." It is reported that Churchill's eyes twinkled as he reported this.

"When I dine after a hard day's w
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom
  • A Warning
  • Last Hope Island: Britain, Occupied Europe, and the Brotherhood That Helped Turn the Tide of War
  • The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication
  • Disloyal: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump
  • Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady
  • Murder in the Reading Room (Book Retreat Mysteries #5)
  • If I Had Your Face
  • The Jane Austen Society
  • Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last
  • Nobody Will Tell You This But Me: A True (as Told to Me) Story
  • Relative Fortunes (Julia Kydd #1)
  • Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
  • The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
  • Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
  • Ink and Shadows (Secret, Book, & Scone Society, #4)
  • The Undocumented Americans
  • The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill
See similar books…
A freelance journalist and a Research Associate at the Hudson Institution, Cita Stelzer previously worked for John Lindsay, Mayor of New York, and Governor Hugh Carey.

Related Articles

  Walter Isaacson, it’s safe to say, is not afraid of tackling the really big topics. In 2011, he wrote about our ubiquitous computer culture...
113 likes · 21 comments
“It is well to remember that the stomach governs the world," wrote Churchill when planning the feeding of his troops on the north-west Indian frontier at the tail-end of the nineteenth century.” 3 likes
“Churchill had definite views on sandwiches, insisting that “the bread must be wafer-thin, nothing more than a vehicle to convey the filling to the stomach”, as he munched happily on some cold beef sandwiches he had brought with him.13 Because of Churchill’s sometimes troublesome indigestion, Dr. Hunt, his gastroenterologist, had, in 1936, recommended eating sandwiches before going to bed, a suggestion to which Churchill agreed.14” 1 likes
More quotes…