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2 Burnside Military- World War I

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce

by

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

It was one of history's most powerful — yet forgotten — Christmas stories. It took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold rain and senseless killing of the trenches of World War I. It happened in spite of orders to the contrary by superiors; it happened in spite of language barriers. And it still stands as the only time in history that peace spontaneously arose from the lower ranks in a major conflict, bubbling up to the officers and temporarily turning sworn enemies into friends.

Silent Night, by renowned military historian Stanley Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history. It had been lost in the tide of horror that filled the battlefields of Europe for months and years afterward. Yet in December 1914 the Great War was still young, and the men who suddenly threw down their arms and came together across the front lines — to sing carols, exchange gifts and letters, eat and drink and even play friendly games of soccer — naively hoped that the war would be short-lived, and that they were fraternizing with future friends.

It began when German soldiers lit candles on small Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead, in an age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters and expressed deep admiration for one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead.

Sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy. Surely the forgotten Christmas Truce was one of history's most beautiful moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it. Stanley Weintraub's moving re-creation demonstrates that peace can be more fragile than war, but also that ordinary men can bond with one another despite all efforts of politicians and generals to the contrary.

About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at the Pennsylvania State University and the author of numerous histories and biographies, including MacArthur's War, Long Day's Journey into War and A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War. Weintraub is a book reviewer for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He lives in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Contents

INTRODUCTION

1 An Outbreak of Peace

2 Christmas Eve

3 The Dead

4 Our Friends, the Enemy

5 Football

6 How It Ended

7 What If — ?

SOURCES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

INDEX

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684872810
Subtitle:
The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce
Author:
Weintraub, Stanley
Publisher:
Free Press
Location:
New York
Subject:
Holidays - Christmas
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Military - World War I
Subject:
Great Britain
Subject:
Christmas Truce, 1914
Subject:
Europe - Great Britain - General
Copyright:
Series Volume:
3326
Publication Date:
20011030
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.4375 x 5.5 in 13.936 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » World War I

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