Echikson, William 1959–
Echikson, William 1959–
CAREER: Writer and journalist. Hartford Courant, Hartford, CT, Yale University stringer, 1980–81; Christian Science Monitor, Boston, MA, French correspondent, beginning 1981, Eastern European correspondent, c. 1985–90; Dow Jones Newswires, Brussels, Belgium, bureau chief; Wall Street Journal Europe, wine columnist. Intern at Newsday, 1981.
AWARDS, HONORS: John Courtney Murray fellow in France, 1981; New Haven Historical Society Prize, 1981.
Lighting the Night: Revolution in Eastern Europe, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.
Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2004.
Also author of Cooking in France for PBS television. Contributor to periodicals, including Fortune, Newsweek, Business Week, Economist, and Geo.
SIDELIGHTS: In his first book, Lighting the Night: Revolution in Eastern Europe, journalist William Echikson drew from his five years of covering Eastern Europe for the Christian Science Monitor to detail the people and social forces that brought about the collapse of Communism in the area. In addition to interviewing Eastern European leaders, the author talked with workers, students, and others to reveal the surge of nationalism in various countries and to investigate troubling social issues such as the renewal of anti-Semitism and the increase in environmental pollution. Writing in Publishers Weekly, Genevieve Stuttaford called the effort "political and cultural reporting at its best."
Echikson turned his reporting abilities to fine cuisine for his book Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant. This time the author reveals how La Cote d'Or and its chef Bernard Loiseau set out to acquire the Michelin Guide's prestigious three-star rating, a process that entails tracking down the best sources for cheeses and other foods throughout the French countryside. "Here is an exuberant portrait of a still vibrant art in which perfection, not money, is the motivating force for an array of obsessed and inspired individuals," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Barbara Jacobs, writing in Booklist, commented: "Characters are well described, even engaging, and readers are quickly spellbound by the frenetic pace and intrigue."
The author remains at the table for his next book, Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution. Echikson focuses on the Bordeaux wine industry, which has been noted for producing the best wines through historic wineries such as Mouton-Rothschild. The author recounts how new and upcoming wineries have begun to compete with older wineries and replace traditional wine-producing techniques. These newer wineries are achieving growing recognition, and their products rank with some of the top Bordeaux wines. To reveal the current state of wine production in France, the author recounts the 2001 wine season and its results. In a review in the Economist, a contributor called the book "highly informative" and noted that it "succeeds on several levels." The reviewer went on to write: "Mr Echikson also has a journalist's eye for the entertaining anecdote and the telling detail. Finally, the book succeeds in its main goal, which is to provide a polemical (and doubtless controversial) examination of the nature of the wine industry in Bordeaux." Matthew DeBord, writing in the Nation, commented that the author's "subject is the debate, history, culture and destiny of winemaking in Bordeaux," adding: "This is a book full of sturdy reporting and the skillful application of years of experience in the field." Manda Salls called Noble Rot an "interesting take on how the French are reacting to innovation in a market they had always taken for granted" in her review on the Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge Web site.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1995, Barbara Jacobs, review of Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant, p. 1622.
Bookwatch, December, 2004, review of Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution.
Economist, May 8, 2004, review of Noble Rot, p. 81.
Nation, June 14, 2004, Matthew DeBord, review of Noble Rot, p. 57.
New York Times Book Review, September 30, 1990, Anna Husarska, review of Lighting the Night: Revolution in Eastern Europe, p. 34.
Publishers Weekly, September 7, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Lighting the Night, p. 73; May 8, 1995, review of Burgundy Stars, p. 280.
Washington Post Book World, November 25, 1990, p. 4.
Harvard Business School Working Knowledge Web site, http://hbswk.hbs.edu/ (December 6, 2004), Manda Salls, review of Noble Rot.