How to Feed a Dictator: Saddam Hussein, Idi Amin, Enver Hoxha, Fidel Castro, and Pol Pot Through the Eyes of Their Cooks by Witold Szabłowski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book doesn't come out until the end of April but it hit the spot for a different sort of read (and my first read of the year) connecting the Cambodian novel I finished on New Year's Eve to my new focus on the Middle East.
"Witold Szablowski tracked down the personal chefs of five dictators known for the oppression and massacre of their own citizens: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Uganda’s Idi Amin, Albania’s Enver Hoxha, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Cambodia’s Pol Pot—and listened to their stories over sweet-and-sour soup, goat-meat pilaf, bottles of rum, and games of gin rummy."
The stories are unnerving sometimes in their details but sometimes because of the perspective of the chef (ranging from fear to mental deterioration to complicity to... love?) It's an interesting combination of politics and food. The author provides considerable context in which to understand the situations involved.
This comes out April 28, 2020 from Penguin. I had an early copy through Edelweiss.
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