The Taste Of War by Lizzie Collingham

The Taste Of War

Shows how control of food and its production is crucial to total war. Tracing the interaction between food and strategy, on both the military and home fronts, this title demonstrates how the issue of access to food was a driving force within Nazi policy and contributed to the decision to murder hundreds of thousands of 'useless eaters' in Europe.

Details The Taste Of War

TitleThe Taste Of War
Release DateJan 1st, 2011
PublisherAllen Lane
GenreHistory, Food and Drink, Food, Nonfiction, War, World War II

Reviews The Taste Of War

  • Hadrian
    A wide-reaching history of food supply and distribution throughout the Second World War. This was a fascinating read!The chapters on the US were the least depressing. The United States was then, and is now, a major net agricultural exporter. As the Soviets overwhelmed the enemy with men, the US overwhelmed all with sheer mass of material, food, weapons, etc. Troops had incredibly generous rations of 4,000 or more calories a day, more than satisfa...
  • Bou
    A unique book that provides a refreshing perspective on the role that (the provision and distribution of) food played in the Second World WarPerhaps often overlooked, but the reason for Japan and Germany to wage war was in no small part as a result from the conviction that - were Japan and Germany to survive as a nation - to demand their right being able to supply their population with enough foods. In order to survive, Germany needed to create L...
  • fourtriplezed
    Superb. Answered many questions. Am unable to think that there could possibly be a better book on the subject of Food and WW2.
  • Caroline
    This was a fascinating read, far more so than I'd expected. I'd picked this book up hoping for some kind of history of rationing and the British wartime food drive - 'Dig for Victory' and all that. What I actually got was an incredibly well-researched, comprehensive and thoroughly interesting history of the role food played in the Second World War - its role in the origins of the war, the course of it, the ending of it, and finally the aftermath....
  • Margaret Sankey
    Richly researched and often horrifying, this is an examination of how food, want of food and food policy drove many crucial elements of WWII--Orwell was absolutely right that the smell of war is rotten potatoes. Collingham mines official papers, diaries, Mass Observation reports, Japanese prison camp records, shipping lists and popular culture for the story on German Hunger Policy and "useless eaters," Woolton Pie, Japanese foraging, the Bengal f...
  • Corban Ford
    Engaging and richly detailed, a fine exploration on the role food played in World War II for all of the major powers at the time.
  • Emmanuel Gustin
    This is a wide-ranging history of food and food policy during the second world war. It offers a strong reminder that, despite the enormous scale of violence in this conflict, the resulting famines killed even more people. And it describes how different government tried (or not) to cope with the challenge of finding adequate food for civilians and soldiers.Food shortages and famines during the war can be attributed to a range of causes, which as u...
  • Tomi
    I couldn't decide whether to give this book one star or two; I almost decided on two stars because I did learn from it. But...she doesn't really prove her thesis. The book is repetitive and she relies far too often on "it is likely," "seems certain," or "it is possible." That isn't evidence to prove anything. Her main point was that WWII was caused by a need for food. That's true, but it isn't the only cause. The author neglects the power of a "C...
  • Sarah
    Impeccably and thoroughly researched analysis on the global food network back in the 1940s and how it impacted the war (as well as how each country was impacted due to what side of the production chain they were on). Really fascinating to see how all these things that always seem to come second in talks of WWII are so crucial to how things played out, as well as how each country faired post-war. The book is over 600pages and densely packed with i...
  • Straw
    It is really 4 1/2 stars. This book is deep y'all. I have never thought about colonialism and what it did in terms of food access/privilege. And surprisingly, while I have thought a great deal about food in the American Civil War, I never thought about it in WW II. I just assumed that things were industrialized enough to meet the needs of most people. In fact, millions and millions starved to death...and food pathways were irrevocably changed for...
  • Jill
    This is a fascinating book, but I’m not sure it is a book written for popular consumption (so to speak) in the United States. It is not only incredibly detailed and full of facts and figures, but moreover is somewhat critical of American food policies, taking a decidedly less sanguine view of American actions than can be found, say, in American textbooks. To me, this made the book especially valuable: I always appreciate being provided a whole ...
  • Zach
    I grew up surrounded by World War II. It falls under my dad's "dad-worthy" list of interests, neighbored by the American Civil War and hockey. His father was a soldier who served in Operation Torch in North Africa and Sicily, which is undoubtedly the genesis of my father's (and an entire generation's) interest.Most of the books he reads aren't the big-picture, military strategy type, adorned with ominous, swooping arrows radiating from, and final...
  • Sumit
    You read a book on role of Petrol in WWII and it will convince you that it was single most important factor in the final outcome of war, you read about weapons, manpower, strategy or anything for that matter and they will convince you the same. This book on the other hand doesn't claim so. what is does is explain the role of food in warfare, be it combat unit's morale or civilian population. This book doesn't boast that food decided who won and w...
  • Glenn Hyman
    This book belongs to a group of books and ideas on the importance of food and the food system in politics and war. If you like World War II history and are interested in food systems – I think you will like this book. Collingham makes a very strong argument that much of the strategy and many of the decisions throughout the war were based on considerations related to food. There is no doubt that food availability had huge impacts on the morale o...
  • Lauren Hopkins
    Too many facts and numbers, not enough personal history. I felt myself wanting to skip page after page of things like "x tons of this, x tons of that were shipped to country x" or "people in country x should've had 3000 calories but only got 1500, people in country y should have had 3500 calories but only got 1100" was like, yawn, important to know but I can't really remember any compelling stories that described what life was like for peopl...
  • Ann Costello
    Fascinating. The affect of food, or lack of, on war. Using as examples all the major theatres of conflict, the author shows how calories were a huge factor in the outcome of World War II. Beautifully researched and written.
  • Alex Lagos
    The book is really good and emotional. It takes place on the past of 1940 in Dunkirk. It's about the English and French armies being allies and trying to defend them selves from some Nazi air strikes. The plot is about that the English need to transfer at least 30,000 man of the beach of Dunkirk to London in England.One of the best quotes in the book are these one's: "we fight for the one's who have fallen", "we fight for the survival of our men"...
  • Michael
    This is a fascinating book about the role of food on WWII. The Germans expanded in Russia and the Japanese into Manchuria due to food needs, primarily, according to the author. Lack of food had a devastating effect on civilians and this affected the war effort especially for those working in military factories, but particularly on soldiers such as the Japanese and Russians who were poorly fed. The US military and civilians were the best fed in th...
  • John Lomnicki,
    Wow, I expected this to be a book that I would eventually finish, I started this book a couple of years ago. It explained how food influenced WW2 and showed how peoples attitudes and politics affected starvation and motivation as well as victory and defeat. It was hard to put down after page 100, it was actually a page turner that I finished in the last week.
  • Scott
    This was a fascinating read on how food was an important part of WWII. This is often overlooked but when you look at how the calorie intake of citizens and soldiers differed between the countries involved you can see how we won the war.
  • Lorraine lepel
    Food controlA very good writing of the study of the need for food dispersement during WW11. There is also a good study of what people do during times when there is a lack of the necessary calories that the human body needs to stay healthy
  • Landyn
    great book reccomend it
  • Mrsculpepper
    thourough and fascinating. includes 100 pages of notes/bibliography so my to read list has increased.
  • Stephanie
    Read this a few years ago and greatly enjoyed it. I especially liked that for a book with a lot of statistics it was still very readable. If you want a book to convince you of the value of a calorie, whether on the stage of history or to you personally, this'll do it.
  • James
    Extraordinary. I can't believe I voluntarily read a 500-page economic history, let alone that I remained absorbed start to finish. And I can't remember reading a book that so completely changed my ideas about a historical era with which I thought I was pretty familiar. To paraphrase the T of W review in the Guardian, it turns out WWII wasn't about bad ideas, or, at least, the bad ideas were secondary. For the most part it was about the control of...
  • Chuck
    Lizzie Collingham's "The Taste of War" is about the history of food and starvation during World War 2. She provides context on how various nations handled food and food shortages. She discusses their pre-World War 2 experiences, particularly in World War 1. She outlines their policies and plans before during and after World War 2. And then she discusses what happened and the results.The issue of food and starvation is so rarely discussed in histo...
  • Christopher Fox
    This is a fascinating book. Anyone who's read about WWII is all too familiar with battles, armaments, diplomacy and politics, atrocities and other topics but here is a totally different perspective - one that strikes at the heart of the human impact of global warfare: food. Encompassing all sides and all regions, the depth and comprehensiveness of Collingham's research is most evident in the analyses not just of food provision for troops and but ...
  • Paulo Migliacci
    What I liked best about Professor Collingham's book is how wonderfully it captures the sense of back and forth between ancient evils and contemporary ones in those brief, horrid years of worldwide war. The more one reads about WW2, the more it becomes clear that it was a struggle between past and future, between supposedly modern ideologies trying to turn back the clock and return to slavery and plunder, and supposedly old-fashioned ideologies tr...
  • Riley
    "The Taste of War" is an outstanding work of historical writing that can only be described as epic. This is a comprehensive and engrossing account of the role of food as a strategic motivator and ongoing consideration of belligerent states of both sides of WWII; the social and economic impacts of food policy during and after the war and the tragic fate which befell millions across the world as the conflict left them (intentionally and unintention...