The LRB recently sent me Cita Stelzer’s Dinner with Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table to review. It’s a good subject. We know that Churchill believed in personal diplomacy (he thought he could charm the most obdurate dictator if he could only meet him face-to-face); that he did a lot of negotiating over meals; and that he was a sparkling conversationalist. I hadn’t heard of Stelzer, but the CV provided by her publisher, Short Books, looked good. She is a 'Reader at Churchill College, Cambridge’ (‘reader’ being a rare and high academic accolade, one step short of 'professor'), 'a Research Associate at the Hudson Institute' in Washington, a 'member of the Board of the Churchill Centre (UK)', and a freelance journalist and editor. Dinner with Churchill promised to be a lively but serious work of history. If only.