"Edson’s vivid portrayal of the urban area, as well as the working class and underclass, creates a vision of Saint John that highlights the discrepancy between the pre-modern idyllic notion of life in Atlantic Canada and the more complicated reality of the region."

-The New Brunswick Literary Encyclopedia

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wine & War

My wife recently bought me Wine & War by Don and Petie Kladstrup and I read it over the weekend. It's the story of the German occupation of France told through the perspective of French winemakers; how they hid their most precious vintages from the Nazis; how their wineries suffered as badly as the people, and how, ultimately, by saving their wine they saved themselves.

This book read like a novel--like a World War 2 thriller, filled with stories of winemakers hiding their best bottles behind newly made walls (one winemaker got his sons to round up as many spiders as they could find so there would be cobwebs to make the wall appear old) or deep in caves where they couldn't be found. It talks about how France was forced to sell all of their wine to Germany (they were cut off from their main clients such as Britain and the US) and how the French tricked the Nazis by sending them bogus bottles--bad vintages while labeling them as something much better, and smirked with pride when the Nazis couldn't tell the difference.

For me, it was one of those books I just couldn't put down. It really is a great read and a book I'll definitely be giving as Christmas presents next year. Cheers to you, Don and Petie Kladstrup!

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