Read Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table by Cita Stelzer Online


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 settingA 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, Stelzer draws on previously untapped 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....

Title : Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781907595424
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 301 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table Reviews

  • Jim
    2018-10-28 03:28

    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. There's nothing from Churchill himself, so it's dessert without dinner or meringue without the rest of the pie. I gave it some more time & it settled down through the war years. There wasn't enough of the policy making & too much made of the menus. Seriously, menus were read many times. There was enough good stuff that I hung on, but wasn't particularly impressed. There was a lot of repetition & not just due to what was presented.The last few chapters were the best. They concentrated on his food, cigars, & drink in enough detail to make the point. Unfortunately, they were summations of information we'd already been given, usually several times, in the meandering text before. Then there was an epilogue that summed up & repeated the main points made in throughout, much from the introductions! Still, I particularly enjoyed hearing about how he dealt with the rationing & his sense of fair play for the common man, so I'm giving this 3 stars, but I might be generous. I wouldn't recommend this as an audio book. It is probably better skimmed as a print book concentrating on the first introduction & the last few chapters.

  • Nick
    2018-10-30 23:14

    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 practically mouth wash.

  • Jeff Kelleher
    2018-10-26 04:24

    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 rage against Japan. Contrary to the American mood, Churchill wanted a "Germany first" policy. So he got himself invited to the White House and stayed for three weeks. The President and the Prime Minister dined most nights, with brandy, tobacco, and talk until 2 or 3 am. The policy that emerged was "Germany first."Author Cita Stelzer whirls us though the great conferences, Casablanca, Adana, Teheran, Yalta, Potsdam, describing the structures, the décor, the place settings, the hors d'oeuvres, entrees, and desserts, the spirits, the wines, and the music, illustrating with photos and reproduced menus. She has found a little-examined corner of the copious historical record, and researched it diligently.All this is fairly interesting, sort of like a museum tour, but has the nourishment content of a soufflé rather than a roast. There are repeated quotes about Churchill's wit, charm, and persuasiveness, but scarcely a word out of his mouth. We are given the stage settings, but none of the performance.This is a "fill out the details" book. Seasoned Churchillians will be fascinated; novices will be lost.Stelzer devotes a chapter to the much-discussed issue of Churchill's drinking. She judiciously examines the evidence for his supposed alcohol abuse, and concludes that the charge is not proved. He consumed prodigious amounts but had a prodigious capacity and did not lack restraint. The myth was partly propagated by the man himself ("Winston, you're drunk." "Yes, Bessie, but you're ugly and tomorrow I'll be sober") and partly by rivals and enemies such as Hitler (one of the curiosities of World War II is that the three Allies were led by hard-drinking heavy-smoking meat-eaters, while Germany was led by a teetotaling non-smoking vegetarian; but we will be cautious in generalizing from that).His favorite drink was Champagne. He also loved brandy after dinner. He had Sherry with breakfast. His day-long staple was highly diluted Scotch. He hated mixed cocktails.Churchill was the most gracious of hosts, and a considerate guest. He preferred plain food (which, to an upper-class Englishman of the period, meant lots of game, fish, and beef), but in food as in all things, had his strong likes and dislikes. "No gentleman eats ham sandwiches without mustard."

  • Caitlin
    2018-10-30 01:11

    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 the powers of fascism throughout the devastating affects of the War. Churchill was, simply, a leader - a canny man with a broad grasp of history and an almost preternatural ability to predict possible futures based on a range of choices in any given situation. He was a man of great consequence who used his personal charisma to keep his country free of Hitler's aggression. He loved food and company and used his charisma in a very effective way - through dinner parties, luncheons, breakfasts, picnics - all opportunities for him to develop personal relationships with important figures on his staff, but also throughout the world. His stamina was epic and the stories of these encounters with Churchill and food provide fascinating insight into his policy making strategies.Dinner with Churchill is a journey through the major events of WWII from the perspective of the binding nature of shared meals. If you love food, are interested in food history, in Churchill, in WWII or all or none of the above - this is a great and entertaining read. It'll also make you really hungry - plover's eggs, anyone?

  • William DuFour
    2018-10-16 21:30

    An interesting new take on Churchill and what, when and how he ate. An overlooked subject.

  • Graham
    2018-11-12 21:21

    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 (skillfull use of ration coupons for group dinners = concern for the common Briton, that sort of thing). On the other hand, the use of - and ability to find - a surprising array of primary sources on Churchill's meal tabs and cigar orders is quite impressive. Perhaps the best parts of the book are the final three chapters, which examine at some length Churchill's food, alcohol, and cigar preferences. They were certainly inspirational in their own way, and just plain fun. So while the book isn't a masterpiece, it's a relatively quick read, and therefore well worth your time.

  • Mike Gabor
    2018-10-27 02:21

    This book should appeal to fans of Winston Churchill such as myself. The author explains how Churchill felt that good food and good conversation helped him achieve his goals. She gives us a quick overview of important dinners in Churchill's life especially the ones he hosted during WWII. She also runs down the menus for the dinners, tells us about Churchill's favorite food and drinks, and also gives us a list of important people that Churchill hosted. It's a very quick read and fairly well written.

  • Jim Zubricky
    2018-10-25 23:09

    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.

  • Meredith
    2018-10-27 21:25

    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.

  • Evan
    2018-11-07 22:10

    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.

  • Scott Vander ploeg
    2018-11-09 03:18

    Author a little too in love with her subject.

  • Cole Kephart
    2018-10-17 01:32

    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. The author did a lovely job of combining my two most ardent passions (British History and the culinary arts), that I’m prepared to say it was one of the best Churchill biographies I have had the utter honor of reading. I’ve read many books on Churchill, numbering in the dozens, not a single one has contained such luscious literary detail. Not even the university class I’m taking has reached this level of description. Stelzer goes on to introduce things I didn’t even know, aspects of Sir Churchill’s life that I wasn’t yet introduced to. To introduce a piece of history that I did not know is a gift, it is truly exciting.Unfortunately due to Stelzer’s sporadic writing style, one cannot effectively summarize the author’s work. But I can say that she featured a mixture of actual documents and eloquent fact to introduce aspects of Churchill’s life in an innovative and interesting style. Mrs. Cita Stelzer has a lovely style of writing, in quality, one could compare it to the writing of Sir Martin Gilbert (official Churchill biographer).In conclusion, I highly recommend Dinner with Churchill.

  • Lonni
    2018-10-17 01:17

    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 of having"lower class" restaurants where workers could have meals not requiring ration coupons! And he made sure they were called restaurants rather than "feeding centers"! The last third is a list of characters with their backgrounds etc.

  • Mary Pat
    2018-10-31 03:08

    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.

  • Sierra
    2018-10-17 03:16

    A lighthearted lens on Churchill's WWII years. I chose to read it as a parable on the value of pulling out all of the stops in a world diluted by digital communication; for sparing no expense in a time when what can't be measured can't be interpreted causally.

  • Harriett Gamer
    2018-10-18 05:32

    Good for ThoughtAn unconventional view of history. Easy read but informative especially for the casual reader. There are quite a few quotables.

  • Nancy Shaffer
    2018-11-11 21:23

    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.

  • Mark Paul
    2018-11-09 22:20

    Great angle, built on previous research!

  • Kathy
    2018-10-18 01:12

    Quotable:"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 work. I like serenity, calm, good food, cold beverages."A month later he reported to Mrs. Churchill that during an attack "we hastily seized our eggs & bacon, bread & marmalade and took refuge."Not just any champagne would do. Churchill was one of the world's most expert connoisseurs of champagne.

  • Chris
    2018-11-07 05:25

    Title: Dinner with ChurchillAuthor: Cita StelzerNarrator: Davina Porter Publisher/Date: Blackstone Audio, 04/15/14ISBN: 9780792797050So, I have to start this off as saying that, obviously, Churchill is one of the worlds most interesting men of the modern age. That being said, we have to take this audiobook to task for failing to deliver that in its narration. The voice work was good. Very good. The choice of actress was wonderful - she has a very classic and upper class British accent that doesn't abrade the way Margaret Thatchers did, for instance. It is smooth, fully understandable, and enjoyable to the American market. The quality of the recording is great, with the levels just right, such that it doesn't seem like someone is whispering into your ear, and it also doesn't seem like someone is yelling at you across a table. This was a very well mixed production. I would, however, offer this criticism: you can very easily (which is distracting), hear exactly where the actress has come back from a break in reading. The new paragraph jumps with a new inflection, or an energy that had waned in the previous one. This is the first audiobook in which I realized this was happening, though in fairness, I was listening for flaws. Back to the failure of the actual text. I found the information on what was served, where it was served, and whom it was served to very interesting. However, there was too little detail paid to the players at the table. Not enough anecdotes, not enough history, and not enough background. It was there, but I felt in short supply, when the amount of harvestable information is enormous. I would rate this as a 5/10 - you are better served with another Churchill book - unless you just HAD to know what he liked to eat and serve, and how he conducted meetings and policy making through meals. It’s interesting, but not interesting enough to me to recommend.

  • Donna Brown
    2018-11-11 04:23

    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.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.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.A great read if you have any interest in Churchill and/or this period of 20th century history.**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.**

  • Jean Poulos
    2018-10-30 04:37

    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 were working dinners, they had a purpose. Stelzer discuss how meticulous WSC was in planning his dinners from menu to sitting placement. He also worked and planned the conversation for the meal almost as much as he did his speeches. The author also emphases Churchill’s wit and humor along with his impeccable manners. She also states she was surprise to learn that Churchill loved picnics. Stelzer states that WSC liked roast beef, Johnny Walker Red or Black Label whiskey, Pol Rogers champagne, Havana cigars and consommé soups. He liked most foods except he disliked creamed soups. Little new is revealed about Churchill, however, it is well written and lots of entertaining trivia is provided. The book is easy to read and is very enjoyable. Oh, how I would have loved to have been a guest at one of his dinners. I read this as an e-book on my Kindle app for my iPad.

  • John Blevins
    2018-11-02 05:16

    Fun to read anecdotes of how Churchill used food and meals as diplomatic and educational opportunities. Now meals to him meant 3 to 4 hours together, without Facebook, in conversation (or perhaps himself expounding..).There was actually too much info on the menus, etc for me as a barely capable minimalist cook - but some foodies will love it. Though I must say that one serious handicap of the Kindle is its inability to display any detail (like text…) with images. I do hope Amazon can find a solution for this.To have an entire chapter on “Cigars” was a first for me. But for Churchill, it deserved it.The inside information on some of the world leaders that Churchill dined with was of course usually interesting.The lengths to which world leaders (in particular Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin) went to impress each other with their food and resources was actually beyond my imagining. Flying ham to Potsdam overnight from London, for example!And to deliver a large sumptuous meal in a foreign war zone took incredible logistics resources and people. The price of high level diplomacy, eh?The was a long chapter at the end of the book, where the author delivered brief biographical sketches of many of the folks Churchill had dined with. It was often quite interesting.The book is supplemented with a long bibliography and a deep index.

  • Marc Cooper
    2018-10-26 00:24

    Honestly this book was not what I thought it would be, although it could be interesting if you really want to know just about what a historical figure ate. The subtitle of "Policy making at the Dinner table" was a bit deceptive as the book is 99% about 'menu making for the dinner table.' It is explained that dinners were important to Churchill for diplomatic relations and policy, as a sort of pretext, but there is little information about actual discussions at the dinner table that led to key turns of events. Instead the book is a meticulous research project on exactly what foods and drinks Churchill entertained with, what he enjoyed or did not as a guest, who cooked for him, how much he ate and drank, and how he procured the ingredients in the face of war time rationing. The book is very readable but never feels important and has little or no organization, skipping around in time and the aspects of meals being discussed in no particular order. I also might have expected anecdotes or jokes Churchill told over dinner, etc, but there was nothing like that. It gives you a sense of what it would be like to dine with Churchill, if you were deaf and blind, and could only taste the food.

  • Ivan
    2018-10-17 00:32

    This book was written in a particular mood aiming to present and explain many wartime excentricities of Churchill and other members of his entourage and the ruling class as to show his proficiency in using the oldest method of diplomatic relations - food. It offers a surprisingly fresh and detailed description of an otherwise known and well-researched public figure, finally giving some rest to the myths and I daresay - even providing some arguments on productivity to other sufferers of an extremely sensitive stomach,like myself. Arguments strong enough to deter the critics, whose specialty lie in eating 'nails and stones' without much ill effect but lacking sharpness and resilience in their professional lives.Besides those positive points the book bears a strong imprint of Churchill's personal opinions taken at face value, which may disserve a reader unfamiliar with the proffesion of diplomacy and the regional and local customs as well as the desire and need of the politicians to be seen in a certain light in certain circles.

  • Steve H
    2018-11-09 21:30

    There are the usual biographies of political and war-time figures that focus on dates, philosophies, strategies, and political machinations. Here's one that paints a portrait of a well-known individual based on his stomach, or more accurately, his gustatory preferences and how those worked into his political and war-time negotiations. This is a relatively brief book, and my favorite parts are the more anecdotal sections of Churchill choosing foods, making seating arrangements, and planning parties/gatherings for informal negotiations and discussions. There were some areas that seemed a bit padded, perhaps where the author had found lists of menus or shopping lists and decided that those warranted inclusion. For me, though, without context of what was happening or what transpired at a dinner, though, the collections became a bit tedious. Still, the short work is probably worth the time to reveal a different, somewhat mythical facet of Churchill.

  • Tom Hammer
    2018-10-21 02:19

    While, perhaps, not a "first pick" read for many, this is a book of interest to students of history, particularly those who have an interest in understanding key figures in history, fans, of Churchill or those who study WWII.This book details Churchill's use of the dinner table to conduct the diplomacy he relied upon to steer the Allies in WWII. Churchill's considerable interpersonal skills, his belief in his ability to make his case 1:1, and his recognition of a shared meal as the basis for development of a familial relationship all fulminate in this strategic endeavor, and the book details how that worked out at the conferences in at Tehran, Potsdam and Yalta. It also delves into the both Churchill's gastronomic preferences as well as his relationship with alcohol. Perhaps, not the general overview of an interesting topic for the general public. But this is an interesting diversion into a focused view on an influence on history.

  • Karl F.
    2018-11-11 21:35

    Of all the techniques of persuasion used by Winston Churchill to further his strategic vision for fighting the war, this book focuses only on his use of dinner parties, which, he believed, could accomplished his objectives which conference rooms could not. His success resulted from detailed planning of his dinner parties, his ability to make a case for his strategy of the moment, and with facts on the ground (For example, in late December 1941 British troops were fighting against Hitler while the US had not deployed a single soldier in Europe).Statesmen, generals, friends, and some not too friendly, add a myriad anecdotes about Churchill to those immortalized in print, memory, and myths. A charming and insightful read about a man who wrote and made history.

  • Agatha
    2018-11-07 21:15

    Whew. I was waiting for this one for a long, LOOOONG time!! I even had to request that our library system purchase it b/c it was not in the system for a while, to my surprise! (And I could not request it via library-loan b/c, as a newly published title, it was not eligible for that.) ANYWAY! I really liked it! Recommended. It is written smoothly in an easily recognizable academic format. I would have rearranged a bit of it, which was curious to me, or at least I would have liked to have heard the author’s explanation for putting part II at the end; I think it would have fit more naturally before the lists of specific dinners.

  • Mary Lane
    2018-11-12 00:37

    Hovers on the line between tedious and detail-rich. I am feeling like I know all about the Napoleonic Chiba Churchill's grandmother bought at auction in the Tuilliers Gardens after Napoleon's exile, but not so much about the policy-making, conversations, and intimate peak into dinner time at the Churchill's I was hoping to find. I think I'll start another book and read this book a chapter at a time between books. It's just interesting enough not to want to shelve it without finishing it but also tedious enough to put me to sleep too quickly to read straight through without spending 6 months on the 250 page novel.