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Finest Hour 175
Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017
Catherine HeyrendtSherman, Winston Churchill: Biographie gourmande series. Paris: Payot-Rivages, 2016, 160 pages, €15.
ISBN: 978– 2228916547
Review by Antoine Capet
Antoine Capet is Professor Emeritus of British Studies at the University of Rouen.
The “Churchill industry” does not only operate in the Anglophone publishing world. France has seen a number of recent publications, which add little if anything to our knowledge of the great man, his entourage, and his times. See for instance my reviews of Frédéric Ferney’s Tu seras un raté, mon fils! in FH 169 and Churchill: La femme du Lion by Philippe Alexandre and Béatrix de l’Aulnoit in FH 172.
The latest petit livre appeared in December 2016, just in time for the festive season and the presents associated with it. The title Winston Churchill has nothing special to attract the buyer. The sales pitch only comes with a small logo below it giving the name of this new series (the next book is to be on Marie-Antoinette—another sure crowd-puller): “Biographie gourmande” (a food-lover’s biography). No doubt there is a market for such a book in France. The pity is that the author has only an embarrassingly superficial knowledge of her subject, and she piles up cliché upon cliché, along with all the old “canards,” on Churchill’s drinking in particular.