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How to Feed a Dictator: Saddam Hussein, Idi…
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How to Feed a Dictator: Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha, Fidel… (Original 2019; 2020. Auflage)

von Witold Szablowski (Autor)

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393525,526 (4.07)1
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Titel:How to Feed a Dictator: Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, and Pol Pot Through the Eyes of Their Cooks
Autoren:Witold Szablowski (Autor)
Info:Penguin Books - Usa (2020), 272 pages
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How To Feed a Dictator: Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, and Pol Pot Through the Eyes of Their Cooks von Witold Szablowski (2019)

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5 stars for sure!!! It was a lot better than I expected it to be but luckily it mixed a lot of history with talking about the food each chef served and it was way more to it than just culinary talk. I love how the author separates and perfectly breaks apart the 5 different stories. This book is a hidden gem and I highly recommend it. A book about 20th century world history, genocide, revolutions and food. Who couldn't love reading about that?? ( )
  swmproblems | Dec 2, 2021 |
I find books like this fascinating. They offer a look at the world from an unusual angle and broaden one's understanding. I very much enjoyed Witold Szabłowski's writing. He sometimes found discrepancies between the story he was told by the cooks and their earlier statements, or from other sources. He questioned them about these, but in the end let the cook tell the story as he saw it at the time of the interview.

The cooks give a very human look at the dictators that they cooked for. Only Cuba is still under the same regime, although Fidel Castro, of course, has died. Some of the cooks, like Erasmo Hernandez of Cuba and Yong Moeun of Cambodia, had joined the revolutionary forces of their future boss before they came to power, and still look very favorably upon them. They became cooks by chance, because their comrades needed them to be. Others, like Abu Ali, Otonde Omere, and Mr. K., were pursuing careers as cooks, and were selected based on their previous work, without having actually applied for the job. These three remember their bosses with mixed feelings -- on one hand they could be very nice and generous with their cooks, but they were sometimes volatile, and in any case, the cook was very aware of the violence that their patrons where persecuting.

In addition to the cooks, Szabłowski made a point of discussing the past and present situation with people that his guides were introduced to, or whom he simply met. He also consulted historians to give him perspective. Some of the dictators indeed made great contributions to their nations, but their violence washed away most of the gratitude that anyone might have felt.

I feel wiser and more informed for having read this book, and it was also a joy to read. I soon intend to pick up Szabłowski's previous book, Dancing Bears, about people who preferred living under tyranny. ( )
  PuddinTame | May 31, 2021 |
Food and History, two genres that for me are irresistible. Add that to the uniqueness of viewing the lives of the dictators and the men itself, through the eyes if their cooks. Szablowski traveled the world, finding these cooks, four men one woman, and let them tell their own stories. Of course, we do not get an email ubiased view of these men, since generally the cooks were treated well, not part of the political frey. There were a few exceptions, where those who provided the food could be accused by those who were jealous.

The chapters are titled, breakfast, snack, lunch etc. Which does not mean what one would think in a book about food, but something much more nefarious. Of course, as in most books touching on political manuvereing, I found my country again acting badly. I think here that while the accounts may be biased, we see a more personal side of these dictators. They did have a human side, though it is often not shown in the power struggles that so often lead to killings of the innocent.

So, a different take on history and an interesting look at the relationship between the dictators and the one who provides his food. As one dictator is ousted, killed, there seem to be others to take his place, seems we will never outlive true evil.

ARC from Edelweiss ( )
  Beamis12 | May 9, 2020 |
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» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (1 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Witold SzablowskiHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Camlin, AlexUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Hauth-Grubben, GoverdienÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lagin, DanielGestaltungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lloyd-Jones, AntoniaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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If "we are what we eat," cooks have not just made our meals, they have made us. They have shaped our social networks, our technologies, arts and religion. Cooks deserve to have their stories told often and well.

-- Michael Symons
A History of Cooks and Cooking
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Knife and fork in hand? Napkin on your lap?
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