Summer reads: this post is the first in a series of short reviews of books I’ve enjoyed.
In preparation for an upcoming visit to Napa Valley, I went looking for a book about wine, wine history and wine tasting intending to educate myself on the wine industry in the U.S. I got pleasantly sidetracked by Wine and War, a book about French vintners during World War II.
The book starts in a fairly gushy, breathless tone, the author obviously a francophile and a wine lover, reveling in the opportunity to write about his favorite subjects. But, like a good wine, it opens up nicely bringing in perspectives of large and small French vintners, some who spent the war scrabbling at home and some who spent it fighting or in enemy camps. The stories of resistance are inspiring. The descriptions of broken men coming home to pick up the pieces of family and home are tenderly written. The author’s descriptions of the experiences of Germans who were involved in the wine-trade before the war who then found themselves back in France as representatives of the Third Reich are plainly and fairly written. This is not a heavy historical tome, it’s a short, fun read. I didn’t double-check the facts because I need to go check out all the many wine brands and vintages mentioned in the book – they were so numerous I may be busy for a while
Got a good summer read to share? Leave your suggestion in the comments below.