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Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truceby Stanley Weintraub
Synopses & Reviews
In the early months of World War I, on Christmas Eve, men on both sides of the trenches laid down their arms and joined in a spontaneous celebration. Despite orders to continue shooting, the unofficial truce spread across the front lines. Even the participants found what they were doing incredible: Germans placed candlelit Christmas trees on trench parapets, warring soldiers sang carols, and men on both sides shared food parcels from home. They climbed from the trenches to meet in "No Man's Land" where they buried the dead, exchanged gifts, ate and drank together, and even played soccer.
Throughout his narrative, Stanley Weintraub uses the stories of the men who were there, as well as their letters and diaries, to illuminate the fragile truce and bring to life this extraordinary moment in time.
"An emotionally stirring, uplifting, yet ultimately sad story brilliantly told by a gifted writer." Booklist (Starred Review)
"This book brilliantly re-creates how, in the early months of World War I, a temporary peace broke out to celebrate Christmas. The enemies threw down their arms and exchanged trinkets; when their generals demanded they begin shooting, they did so, but aimed overhead to cause no harm. To be reminded of this moving episode in history is a great gift." Chicago Tribune
"Stanley Weintraub's Silent Night is a fascinating slice of World War I history." USA Today
"A moving story of horror taking a holiday." People
"Weintraub has brought an obscure and bizarre incident to life with a flair that gives the reader a detailed glimpse at a unique Christmas story." The Seattle Times
"Beautiful, brutal, and deeply moving." The Baltimore Sun
"Drawing from secondary sources as well as much archival research in a variety of languages, Weintraub has compiled a brief, anecdotal account that reveals his skill as a researcher and deftness as a narrator....[J]ust in time for the holidays, we have this offering from one of our most patient chroniclers." Publishers Weekly
"The desperate longing for peace, which Weintraub captures through the words of the soldiers themselves, underscores the poignancy of the ending of the truce, when outraged commanders ordered newly made friends to kill one another....Weintraub's work stands as a unique testament to our fundamental brotherhood." Library Journal
About the Author
Stanely Weintraub is a National Book Award finalist, Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University, and the author of numerous histories and biographies. He is a regular book reviewer for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Table of Contents
Outbreak of peace — Christmas Eve — Dead — Our friends, the enemy — Football — How it ended — What if--?
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