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Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    I received this book from my grandfather (?) a decade ago. I wi

    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 discussing this book could have opened that door.

    This was an interesting look at the economics of wine during Hitler's reign and the Occupation of France. The histories of the different vineyards, the details of the wines, and the stories of the owners--some who were left to run the vineyards and others who were in hiding or sent to concentration camps--make this book come alive.

    And though war is a solemn subject, humor makes itself known throughout the novel. My favorite is the section about the wolves:

    The grapes had an "exhilarating effect" on the wolves. "I suspect the stomach of the wolf is so constructed that the fermentation of the fruit juices proceeds rapidly after the animal has eaten the grapes. At any rate, intoxication is frequently the result."

    Monsieur Le Brun says he recalls seeing a drunken pack running by his home. "...the wolves were all intoxicated. That was what caused them to run into the town in the first place, and it was also what saved the townsfolk after they had come in. They were too drunk to remember that they were wolves...they just lay down in the street, stupidly drunk."

    This book isn't for everyone: if wine isn't your drink of choice, or you don't care about French wines, then you'll probably find this too dry to swallow.*

    * pun not intended, but it totally works

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