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Silent Night: the Story of World War I's Christmas Truce Hardcover – 26 Nov 2001

4.0 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Printing edition (26 Nov. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684872811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684872810
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.1 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,280,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Robert Cowleyfounding editor of "MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History," and editor of "No End Save Victory: Perspectives on World War II"Stanley Weintraub's poignant account of the day one of the worst of wars took a holiday sounds like the stuff of fiction, but it was the sort of event that fiction can only imitate. No wonder that his book reads like a novel, a true story that has the power to haunt.

About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of numerous histories and biographies, including Silent Night (available from Plume). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Prior to reading this book, I has wondered whether some of the tales of the Christmas truce were exaggerated. Weintraub in this excellently researched book quotes from soldiers on both sides. The illustrations are also extremely well-chosen. I would recommend anyone to read it who has an interest in twentieth century history. The final chapter on how history could have been different was rather speculative, but challenged the reader to consider the might-have-beens and I suspect would spark lively debate in a reader's group. The only part of this book I did not like was the author's style. The use of spade as a verb - "he was spaded into the ground" - and other linguistic foibles were irritating and marred the readability of the text. Nonetheless it was a good read and one which I am sure I will enjoy revisiting in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
In 1914, as the Great War turned from a glorious adventure into a grinder of human meat, something unexpected and beautiful happened. When Christmas Eve arrived, quite against orders, peace mysteriously broke out. In many places along No-Man's Land, soldiers from the opposing armies mingled, traded trinkets, sang songs, and even played impromptu soccer matches. This is the story of that all too brief interlude in that human tragedy that was the First World War.
The author of this book has brought together a wonderful book. It is a collection of anecdotes about that Christmas Truce, complete with a series of pictures. Being a minor student of that tragic war, I could not help but be touched by this story, being at times brought close to tears by some of the stories.
I must admit that I found the author's speculation on what might have happened if the opposing armies had decided to make the peace permanent to be quite fanciful, and rather anticlimactic. That said, though, this is a wonderful book, one that is quite informative on a little studied chapter of World War I. I highly recommend this book to all readers!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Christmas Truce of 1914 is probably the most extraordinary event of the whole of the First World War. While most people know something about the football match played in no-man's land, between the British and German troops, what many don't realise is that that event was just one of numerous outbreaks of peace and goodwill which occurred right across the Western Front during the first Christmas of The Great War. In this short, seasonal book the historian, Stanley Weintraub, tells the story of many of those truces and explores why, when and where they happened, how and why they ended and speculates on what might have happened had they become a permanent ceasefire.

What really makes Weintraub's book such a great read at Christmastime is that by largely allowing the story to tell itself the book highlights the fundamental goodness and common decency of most of those involved. Born and bred in what was in many ways a more civilised, courteous and gentler age, these men really didn't want to fight each other at all and once they began fraternizing, they soon realised that they had many more things in common than they had differences. United by a shared history, culture, religion and moral values, the nominal enemies found it very easy to become friends as they exchanged gifts and rations, smoked, sang and danced together, played football and generally mucked about. As Weintraub explains, even language wasn't really a barrier as so many of the Germans spoke excellent English having lived and worked in Britain before the war.
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Format: Paperback
An enchanting tale, as Weintraub brings history to life, in this documented, well-researched book.
Weintraub fills the book with heart-warming information relating to the event of the Christmas 1914 Truce on the Front across France. I found the book to be both insightful and interesting, although felt that the Chapters, and therefore the story did not really progress throughout the book.
Although easy to understand, after re-reading, it is more noticeable that the book tends to be rather fragmented, and slightly repetitive, which caused myself to become relatively bored at some parts of the book.
However, I would recommend Weintraub's work, especially Silent Night, to anyone looking for an informative, yet easy read (I first read this book when I was 14 and coped with the terms that he uses).
One certainty, is that Weintraub captures the spirit in his writing. Definitely one to read at Christmas, over and over again!
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By nigeyb TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 April 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an enjoyable and well written account of the 1914 truce that happened during World War 1 on the Western Front in the improbable setting of the trenches. Time and again Stanley Weintraub uncovers examples of how, despite orders from senior officers, the troops in the trenches came together to sing carols, exchange gifts, eat and drink together, and even play football. In most of these examples the troops discovered how alike they were and how much they shared in common.

I am not sure this subject warrants a whole book and there is quite a bit of repetition as Stanley Weintraub gives numerous different examples of the different ways the truce occurred in different parts of the Western Front.

The book concludes with a short chapter titled "What if....?" in which Stanley Weintraub speculates what might have happened had the war ended with the 1914 Christmas truce which felt a bit pointless.

Interesting, if inessential.

3/5
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