Eggs or AnarchyThe remarkable story of the man tasked with the impossible: to feed a nation at war


One of the great untold stories of World War Two—about the man responsible for feeding the people of Britain during the war—written by award-winning food writer and restaurant critic William Sitwell.

Eggs or Anarchy reveals the heroic tale of how Lord Woolton, Minister for Food, really fed Britain during World War II. With supply routes under attack from the Axis powers and resources scarce, it was Woolton’s job to fulfill his promise to the British people—and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in particular—that there would be food on the shelves each week. Persuading the public to not resort to the black market and to manage on the very limited ration was one thing, but Woolton had to maintain supplies in time of crisis. A grammar school-educated genius, he was a fish out of water in Churchill’s cabinet and faced harsh criticism from colleagues, the press, and public.

But Woolton used every trick in his entrepreneurial book to secure supplies, and battled to outwit unscrupulous dealers on the streets of cities within the British Empire—such as Alexandria in Eygpt—persuading customs authorities to turn a blind eye to his import schemes. If Britain had gone hungry the outcome of the war could have been very different. Now, for the first time, readers will find out the real story of how Lord Woolton provided food for Britain and her colonies, discovering that for Woolton, there were indeed days when it was literally a choice of “eggs or anarchy.”

William Sitwell is one of Britain’s foremost food writers. The multi-award-winning editor of Waitrose Kitchen magazine for over a decade, he is a familiar face on TV appearing on shows such as BBC’s Masterchef, Food&Drink and as presenter on a number of documentaries, notably Michelin Stars; the Madness of Perfection.