Dinner With Churchill
Policy Making at the Dinner Table
To be published in hardback by Short Books on 6th October 2011 priced £20.00
‘A delightful and fascinating book’ – Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War
‘A delightful and delicious tribute to Churchill’s heroic appetite for wining, dining and politicking’ – Ben Macintyre, author of Operation Mincemeat
Dinner With Churchill provides an intimate and unique insight into Winston Churchill’s dinner table diplomacy and examines how the great orator used his powerful social skills for political gain. For the first time, historian Cita Stelzer explores how battles were won and allegiances born over fine wines, cigars, roasted meats and Irish stew.
Stelzer examines ten dinners during Churchill’s Prime Ministerial career and demonstrates how he used mealtimes as political weapons. From strategically thought-out seating arrangements to meticulously planned menus – or ‘bills of fare’ as they were then known – Churchill’s dazzling skill as a host, learned from his mother, Lady Randolph, is vividly described.
With brilliant microscopic and evocative detail, Stelzer describes the favourite foods of the leaders of the time, (Churchill was partial to grouse and ice cream); the settings in which they were consumed (be it elaborate dining rooms or train carriages); and the political manoeuvres that were made: over a succession of dinners and lunches Churchill firmed up Roosevelt’s support for the ‘Europe First’ strategy which would eventually win the war; he forged a relationship with a reluctant Stalin in Moscow over an intimate meal featuring the head of a suckling pig, which Stalin ate with his knife; and he dazzled by providing a seven course meal complete with the Royal Air Force String Orchestra flown to Potsdam at a day’s notice. And yet, whilst conscious of the occasion and his guests, Stelzer shows Churchill’s deep seated concern for his countrymen: He was always mindful that he was leading a nation surviving on rations.
Crucially, Stelzer uses her subject to demolish the arguments of those who have accused Churchill of chronic alcoholism. Instead, she portrays a Prime Minister who knew how food in diplomacy could be a lubricant and a man who was deemed a perfect host.
Reader at Churchill College, Cambridge; a Trustee of the Churchill Centre UK; and a Research Fellow at The Hudson Institute in Washington.
She is available for interviews and to write pieces.
To request a review copy or for further information please contact Preena Gadher on 020 3174 0118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org