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The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It [Anglais] [Broché]

Tilar J. Mazzeo
2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“Joan of Arc and Madame Clicquot were the two women heroes I knew when growing up in France. What a gift to have this new, well-researched biography of one of the world’s first ‘legitimate’ businesswoman, our contemporary as a global business leader.” (Mireille Guiliano, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller, French Women Don't Get Fat)

“The Widow Clicquot is someone we should all know about.... Long a shadowy, legend-obscured figure, in Tilar Mazzeo’s agile hands the widow sheds her weeds and takes form before our eyes as a distinctly modern entrepreneur....The result is narrative history that fizzes with life and feeling.” (Benjamin Wallace, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Billionaire's Vinegar)

“Told in a light and graceful style that is just right for its subject…. [I]t’s a fascinating trip, made even more so by Ms. Mazzeo’s charming cameo appearances as a kind of tour guide…. This example of Barbe-Nicole’s voice is exceptional…an intoxicating business biography.” (Julia Flynn Siler, The Wall Street Journal)

“The Widow Clicquot, Tilar J. Mazzeo’s sweeping oenobiography of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, is the story of a woman who was a smashing success long before anyone conceptualized the glass ceiling.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Mazzeo’s resulting book is an enticing stew of biography and history.” (USA Today)

“If you like champagne, “The Widow Clicquot” by Tilar J. Mazzeo is definitely worth a drink.” (Associated Press)

“Tilar J. Mazzeo’s informed and enlightening biography of Madame Clicquot, the widow and, more important, the businesswoman, retrieves her vintage story as if looking for a rare bottle in one of the Champagne region’s deepest caves.” (Newsday)

“This book is full of fascinating morsels of information.” (Canberra Times)

The Widow Clicquot is a miraculous feat of organization, one worthy of a doctoral thesis…. [I]n its moments of action, this is actually a gripping story. And while the book appears to be a feminist history/business biography, it’s also the appealing story of the author’s odyssey. (Austin Chronicle)

“Mazzeo’s tale moves swiftly through Barbe-Nicole’s many accomplishments, including her method for storing bottles nose-down—an innovation that allowed the second fermentation detritus to be cleared efficiently, setting her far ahead of her competitors.” (Los Angeles Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

The Widow Clicquot is the New York Times bestselling business biography of the visionary young widow who built a champagne empire, became a legend in her tumultuous times, and showed the world how to live with style. Tilar J. Mazzeo brings to life the woman behind the label, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, in this utterly intoxicating book that is as much a fascinating journey through the process of making this temperamental wine as a biography of a uniquely tempered and fascinating woman.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 304 pages
  • Editeur : HarperBusiness (6 octobre 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0061288586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061288586
  • Dimensions du produit: 20,5 x 13,4 x 1,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 100.703 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Dans ce livre (En savoir plus)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 en anglais 17 janvier 2012
Par pradier
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
tres decu par ce produit lecture en anglais sans grande photo
aucun attrait . franchement je ne voit pas l utilite d un tel produit
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  118 commentaires
63 internautes sur 70 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Fascinating Woman in a Turbulent Time 5 novembre 2008
Par Dave Schwartz - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Tilar Mazzeo's The Widow Cliquot tells the story of one of the most interesting of the early champagne tycoons: a woman who, in the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, founded a dynasty. Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin, the daughter of a prosperous Reims merchant, married into the Cliquot family, who sold both cloth and wine. After her husband's death, she chose to continue running the family's wine business, concentrating on the fizzy wine we now call champagne.

The Widow Clicquot faced long odds-indeed, she was a true gambler-because travel was hazardous and much of the export market was closed. Still, she clung to her vision with a remarkable tenacity and was ultimately successful-Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is still one of the best known champagne houses in the world.

The book has a great deal of interesting information on the history and production of champagne-this gives the Widow's life some context. Mazzeo's finest moment is her taut telling of the delivery of the 1811 vintage under the specter of war in 1813. Mazzeo clearly sets the scene and lets the reader know just how high the stakes are. We really get a sense of the menace-and triumph-of the Widow's life.

Much of what happens after that drama, which falls about in the middle of the book, is unfortunately anti-climax. Mazzeo's problem is that there simply aren't any sources to guide her: since the Widow left scanty records of her personal life, we just don't know what was going on there. It's no coincidence that a well-documented episode from the Widow's business career is the best part of the book: clearly, there were solid sources to ground the story here.

There also seems to be a great deal of telling, rather than showing in the narrative. Time and again, the reader is told that Barbe-Nicole was an exceptional woman, and that she couldn't have been successful had she started her career a few years earlier or a few years later. We are also reminded frequently that Barbe-Nicole was middle class-but she came from one of the wealthiest families in Reims and ultimately ran a multi-billion dollar (in today's terms) business empire. True, she was not a titled noble, but today's audiences might not consider a woman born to her privilege and riches "middle class."

Much of the problem is apparent in the title-it's just too wordy for its own good. Why not "The Widow Cliquot: The Woman Who Ruled a Champagne Empire?" The book suffers similarly-though it's less than 200 pages, it still feels repetitious and over-long at points.

It's too bad, because Mazzeo has an great story to tell, and where she's got the benefit of solid sources, she's does a fine job. Perhaps this story would have worked better as one chapter in a book devoted to similar pioneers? It's certainly a good read, and a story that more people should know about.
36 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Audacity of Widow Clicquot 21 octobre 2008
Par Terri J. Rice - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
To her last surviving great-grandchild Madame Clicquot writes, "I am going to tell you a secret... You more than anyone resemble me, you who have such audacity. It is a precious quality that has been very useful to me in the course of my long life... to dare things before others... I am called today the Grand Lady of Champagne!"

Coming from a genteel class, it was unusual in that day to run a business, these women instead, were expected to sit leisurely around drawing rooms in idle chatter but when only twenty-seven years old, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot became a widow. The hurdles of making wine and champagne: unreliable bottle quality, turmoil of war preventing export, unusually wet or hot weather, all became Widow Clicquot's worry.

Wines that sparkled were wines that had gone bad. And beginning in the Middle Ages in the Champagne region of France, it was happening more and more. To turn this seeming catastrophe into a success put Champagne on the map. Second fermentation, a disaster for wine, was coaxed into happening in a bottle of champagne.

The Widow Clicquot became, in the nineteenth century, a premier name in Champagne. This book puts a face on that label.

This book is not only the very interesting story of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot but it is also full of very fascinating details about making wine, making champagne, labeling varietals, labeling quality. Second fermentation, the use of sulfur and wine remaining on the lees all makes sense to me now. If you love wine you will really enjoy the history of this fascinating woman and the process of making wine.

The one detriment to this book is Tilar Mazzeo's overuse of the word "perhaps." It leaves the reader wondering just how much of the biographical information is accurate.
41 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Little History, Lots of Mystery - just a Docudrama 14 décembre 2008
Par lawyerwhocooks - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
As a lover of history, a career woman who takes pride in other women's achievements in the business world, and an oenophile (whose favorite champagne is Clicquot), I could hardly wait to read this book. In fact, the summary of the book seemed to be written just for me! What I found when I read this book, however, was very different from what I expected.

I feel as if I read a "docudrama" or some similar fictional account based loosely upon a few historical facts. The Widow Clicquot should have been a 50 page thesis for a history grad student (assuming the author was first able to unearth sufficient historical facts). Instead, the author stretched this book to 194 pages in the advance review copy - at least 100 pages past the book's historical-accuracy-breaking-point. The author did her readers a great disservice by attempting to write a biography about Madame Clicquot when the author herself repeatedly admits in the book that she could find almost no recorded history about the lady. Was this book pursued purely for commercial reasons, without regard to the lack of substantive content? Was the author too wrapped up in her intellectual love affair with the concept of Madame Clicquot to recognize that "The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It" fails to tell us much of anything about how Madame created her Champagne Empire, or how she ruled it?

My greatest complaint is that Ms. Mazzeo trys to create historical fact out of thin air throughout The Widow Clicquot. I could provide innumerable examples of the author leaping to conclusions about what Clicquot felt or saw, what Clicquot did and why she did it - all without any sort of reference material to back up her conclusions. For example, the way Ms. Mazzeo writes should provide you with an idea of my problems with this book: "Barbe-Nicole probably also learned..." "Barbe-Nicole certainly learned..." "Barbe-Nicole surely did not miss..." (pages 42-43 of the ARC). Time and again throughout the book, Ms. Mazzeo make leaps of logic regarding what Madame Clicquot knew, did, loved, liked, disliked and how she felt. I understand that some assumptions must be made about a historical figure about whom so little appears to be known, but the casual way the author has managed to spin a tale that is nearly empty of hard fact while being full of gossip, innuendo and guess - well, it didn't sit well with me, and if you are a student of history, I doubt it will sit well with you, either.
41 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 surely not 26 novembre 2008
Par Julia Walker - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I love champagne, especially The Widow; I love France and history and stories about brave women.

I didn't love this book.

Mazzeo couldn't decide what sort of book she was writing. It's not a scholarly study (for all that she splashes her degree across the title page) nor - as several other reviewers point out - is it quite a work of fiction. It's almost a personal memoir - too personal for my taste - but it misses the mark there, too.

Certainly Mazzeo wants to impress us. She tries very hard to make Barbe-Nicole Clicquot a metaphor for women in history, for the narrative of white space, for all those unvoiced shuttles, but she has this horridly Sarah Palin-esqe tendency to get cute about it -- the thinner the facts, the more adorable the narration.

There are two sorts of biographies: those which contain facts and analysis and those which speculate. This is the latter.

The word "surely" appears on every page.

OK, not much is known about Madame Clicquot (whom Mazzeo relentlessly and patronizingly refers to by her first name); but a great deal is known about the history of Reims and the champagne industry. Mazzeo has done admirable work on this and if she would just give it to the reader, all would be well. But she wants to be a biographer, and this leads her down a dubious path.

The most important critical/theoretical work on women's biography is the late Carolyn Heilbrun's path-making Writing a Woman's Life Writing a Woman's Life (Ballantine Reader's Circle). Mazzeo must have read it, since she brings out various of its insights with girlish glee, but she never cites it. And she misses the big point, even as she laments the lack of a narrative women's history. The point is this: women's lives don't conform to the same paradigms as men's lives. Yes, Mazzeo says this, but -- rather like the Wife of Bath - she paints a very patriarchal lion even as she objects to the paradigm of lion-painting.

As for Mazzeo's claim to scholarship, the final nail in that myth's coffin is her statement in the opening paragraph of the last chapter, in which she crows delightedly over the Oxford English Dictionary STILL listing "champagne" as a meaning for "widow."

Well duh. The Oxford English Dictionary STILL lists every meaning ever attached to every word: that's the whole point of the OED. What the point of this book is, I'm not sure. Not tenure, I hope.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A unique perspective on the woman who launched a storied grande marque champagne 24 octobre 2008
Par Chambolle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This is not a wine geek account of the champagnes of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. You won't find tasting notes, vintage guides, production facts and figures, vineyard maps. It's about La Veuve, pure and simple. And that's not bad at all.

The author's viewpoint is stated elegantly in her introduction. She aims to tell "the story of a woman raised to be a wife and mother, left widowed before thirty with a small child, with no training and little experience of the world, who grasped firmly at the reins of her own destiny and, through sheer determination and talent, transformed a fledgling family wine trade into one of the great champagne houses of the world. Here, I thought, is a woman who refuses to compromise."

Indeed. We learn how, in the midst of political upheaval in France and the rest of Europe, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin went from the somewhat sheltered daughter of a successful Reims textile merchant; to the wife of something of a melancholic dilettante; to a widow suddenly left to manage a fledgling champagne business -- a woman alone in what was very much "a man's world" at the time. There are detours here and there to provide some basic information about the vineyards and the cellars, the evolution from early champagne in the sweet style to the modern fashion for brut champagne and other details. And of course, a thorough debunking of the myth of Dom Perignon.

But this is not a reference book on champagne for collectors or those looking to learn about the methode champenoise in intimate detail. It offers instead a colorful look at La Veuve herself, in her historical context. As the author discovered, the life of Barbe-Nicole is anything but well documented. But what she has pieced togther from a variety of sources -- including it seems her own imagination -- is an extremely touching and compelling portrait of a woman "who lived with audacity and intelligence" and "opened the road for new generations of women in the marketplace." Ironically, however, after the death of Barbe-Nicole, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin was not headed by a woman again for well over a century.

This is a fascinating book, one that kept my attention from start to finish. Recommended.
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