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History - General
Politics & Current Affairs
World Affairs
STRUAN STEVENSON served three terms as a UK Member of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014. He is an award-winning author, lecturer, newspaper feature writer and broadcaster. 'The Course of History - Ten Meals That Changed The World' is his fifth book and reflects his fascination with global history and the way major decisions are often taken over the dinner table, assisted by generous quantities of food and wine.

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THE COURSE OF HISTORY - Ten Meals That Changed The World

1. Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Eve of Culloden - 14th April 1746 - As Bonnie Prince Charlie toasted his loyal commanders he was unknowingly raising a glass to the end of the Jacobite dream. His lavish dinner on the eve of the Battle of Culloden and the horrific events that followed his defeat within hours truly shaped the course of history.

2. Sowing the Seeds of the American Revolution - Supper at the House of John Carlyle - 14th April 1755. During the course of this momentous supper attended by a young George Washington, British General Edward Braddock’s attempts to get money out of the colonies to pay for the war against the French and their native Indian allies sowed the seeds of future revolution and eventual American independence.

3. How Washington D.C. became America’s capital following Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Dinner Party bargain’ in New York - 20th June 1790 - When three of America’s founding Fathers met in New York on 20th June 1790, the ‘bargain’ that they sealed over a lavish dinner set the scene for Washington D.C. to become the capital of the newly created federal republic.

4. The Vienna Congress 1814 – Forging 100 years of peace at the dinner tables of Vienna - 2nd October 1814 - Following Napoleon’s abdication in 1814 a major peace conference was held in Vienna, attended by almost all of the emperors, empresses, kings, queens, dukes and duchesses in Europe, together with dozens of the leading ministers and diplomats. Their inaugural dinner changed the history of Europe.

5. Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie: Dinner in Sarajevo - 27th June 1914 - Two bullets fired by a skinny 19 year old student, in a Sarajevo street on a sunny June morning in 1914, set in motion a train of events that shaped the world we live in today. Would history have been different if Franz Ferdinand had not sat down to a lavish 9-course dinner with 6 fine wines the evening before?

6. The Achnacarry Agreement - 28th August 1928 - How Petroleum Politics was born over a Scottish Banquet.

7. Hitler & Schuschnigg: Austrian Anschluss - 12th February 1938 - By the end of a terrifying lunch in Hitler’s Berghof in the Bavarian Alps in February 1938, Kurt Von Schuschnigg, the Chancellor of Austria, signed away his country’s independence and Austria was absorbed into the Third Reich.

8. Churchill’s Birthday Banquet in Teheran - 30th November 1943 – The last chance for Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill to reach a decision that could defeat the Nazis, end the war and shape the world for decades to come.

9/ Nixon in China: Dinner in Beijing - 21st February 1972 - Discussions over a lavish banquet in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, helped to shape the course of history.

10/ Carter, Sadat & Begin – Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty Dinner - The White House, March 26th 1979. The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, brokered after thirteen tortuous days of negotiations at Camp David in September 1978, stunned the world. By the time President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin met again at the White House in March 1979 to seal the deal over a lavish State banquet, it appeared as if the impossible had been achieved.
I have previously lectured on the INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS during a 14 day Western Mediterranean cruise in September 2016. I gave 5 keynote lectures based on my latest book: 'THE COURSE OF HISTORY - Ten Meals That Changed The World'. Each chapter looks in detail at an historic dinner, the people who attended, the events leading up to the meal, the decisions that they took and importantly, the food and drink that they consumed and how that might have influenced the historic outcomes of their decisions.