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Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  429 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Two-time Newbery Honor Book author Jim Murphy writes a stunning nonfiction masterpiece about a Christmas miracle on the Western Front during World War I.

On July 29th 1914, the world’s peace was shattered as the artillery of the Austria-Hungary Empire began shelling the troops of the country to its south. What followed was like a row of falling dominoes as one European coun
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press
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2010 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
34th out of 120 books — 355 voters
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66th out of 107 books — 524 voters

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If your history classes in school were anything like mine, then this is how a typical year would go: Lots of Revolutionary War, lots of Civil War, oh no it's almost the end of the year so let's just skip to WWII, and finally a brief smattering of Vietnam. WWI got the short end of the stick year after year after year when I was growing up. In fact, by the time I graduated from high school I associated only a couple vague images with it: mustard gas, red poppies, and All Quiet On The Western Front ...more
Julie Suzanne
While this book is in the Juvenile section of the library, I have to say it's the best book on WWI (or any war) that I've ever read. The causes and consequences of WWI are so much clearer to me; I could probably even carry on a lengthy discussion about it. I have read textbook chapters about WWI both in high school and college, and once I started this text, I felt like I didn't know a THING about it. So, I do recommend this to adults who love history but don't necessarily love reading adult nonf ...more
Joe Radtke

Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting by Jim Murphy is a non-fiction book about the Christmas Truce of 1914 during World War One. Jim Murphy starts the book by writing about how the war started and showing how the whole conflict could've been avoided. The anger that lead to the war started when an Austrian-Hungarian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand when assassinated by a Serbian National. Now this was especially bad because he was the heir to the throne and the Austrian-Hungarians already hated
Truce isn't primarily a book about World War I. As is often the case in Jim Murphy's books, Truce explains the essential facts that led to the war, but then zeroes in on one unusual section of the war that was strikingly memorable, and makes it the focus of the book. In this case, the unusual occurrence is the almost unexplainably widespread truce between the British and German soldiers which took place in the battle zone of the Western Front on Christmas Eve and Day of 1914.

I knew a fair amou
Alex Baugh
Truce is a wonderful book that not only tells the story of the unofficial Christmas Truce of 1914 during World War I, but also gives a coherent, thorough history of the events leading up to the hostilities and just what those terrible first months of war was like in the trenches.

The fact is that most of us don't really remember World War I from our high school history days. And I know I never learned that World War I could have and almost was prevented. So I can honestly say that I (re)learned
I've never known much about WWI. I liked this book - a children's book, so it was in layman's terms and easy to understand - but it gave a feel for the horrors of war without being graphic. I am going to share some quotes from the book that impacted me. I guess I should say *spoiler alert* in case I'm giving something away.

The story of the Christmas truce is one I was vaguely familiar with, but I didn't realize that the truce didn't end on Dec. 26. In some areas, it continued for months. In one
I know, I'm too liberal with my 5-star ratings, but boy have I been reading some good stuff lately. This was unintentionally the perfect nonfiction follow-up to Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Westerfeld's book, though it was an alternate history, still taught me more about what set off World War I than I remember learning in school, and Murphy's book fleshes out the reality magnificently, with maps, photos, drawings, first-person quotes, a timeline, notes & sources, additional resources, and ...more
An excellent book about the Christmas truce of 1914. Confirms my belief that most people want to live in peace if you can keep the leaders/governments out of it. Very well-written.
Usually, when I read non-fiction I don't do it willingly. This book was different. I never knew that the famous 1st World War had a good, touching, part to it. I think everyone should read this book, because I believe that peace is the answer instead of war. I also believe that everyone has a good part to them, just waiting to shine. This book taught not only about climax of the war, but also the little steps that built up to WW1. I might take up some more non-fiction after this great piece of l ...more
David Korsak
This book is about the peace that happened on one day during World War I. The book starts off with explaining how World War I started and how quickly it turned into trench warfare. The author’s attention to detail is apparent throughout the book because he provides firsthand accounts of events that took place and graphic photographs. Conditions and losses were so terrible on the front lines that on November 23, 1914 Winston Churchill wrote in a letter to his wife “What would happen, I wonder, if ...more
Stephanie Winchester
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting was written by Jim Murphy. This book is the story about how on Christmas Day during World War I soldiers made a truce to stop fighting for the day to celebrate the holiday. Murphy details the history of how the war began due to the powerful German economy and military. Eventually the other countries became annoyed with Germany which led to war. The truce on Christmas Day happened on the Western Front trenches during a time of trench warfare. According ...more
Brady Stevens
Dec 09, 2014 Brady Stevens added it
Shelves: 307
This book had a reading level of 12.6 and is for grades 3-7. I would only use this book if I were teaching older students and the subject was about WW1. Story is about WW 1 and how several different countries clashed for land. The reader is able to see what life was like during war and how soldiers lived within their armies. Real historical figures were used such as Captain C. I. Stockwell and Winston Churchill. Events and battles that occurred in History were discussed throughout the book. One ...more
Kayla Spohr
Truce by Jim Murphy is the true story about a very special incident that took place during World War I. World War I was basically fought between Germany and the Allies (which included France, the US). In the fall of 1914 the allies and Germany faced off along the border of France. These men put their lives on the line and were enemies, but for one day, they trusted each other to call truce and celebrate Christmas. It was amazing to read these men were able to set aside their differences and hatr ...more
This is the story about how WWI began and how during an amazing holiday, the soldiers decided not to fight each other. Not only is this a story about the good will and holiday spirit of many soldiers, it is also the story of how WWI came to be, and why WWI never had to be. It tells the story of international tensions before and after the war. It shows how these tensions and the brutal fighting shaped the beginning of the 20th century and many years past. I thought this book did a great job of gi ...more
Here is proof that the pawns sometimes have better judgement and intelligence than the kings and queens or even the knights or bishops. Winston Churchill suggested this fact in his frontispiece statement quoted on page VII. In addition to providing a deep and happy breath of Christmas spirit (and I will read it again next Christmas) this book introduced me to pre-WW I history with which I was not at all familiar. There were informative details also about the war and the political shuffle afterwa ...more
Briana Nelson
Truce by Jim Murphy is the true story about a very special incident that took place during World War I. World War I was basically fought between Germany and the Allies (which included France, the US). In the fall of 1914 the allies and Germany faced off along the border of France. Both lived in long trenches that were dug out. They ate, slept and stayed in these trenches throughout the whole war. In the spirit of Christmas and getting some relief from war, each side stopped war. Men from both si ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Lo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: wwi
Truce is a very accessible book for a young reader, as it ties together the story of WWI with the scenes of the Christmas Truce at the Western Front.

Unlike the picture books, and songs about the truce, Murphy tells a heartbreaking story of small, unstable agreements between the front lines, where no official agreements were made. He tells a history of that night, rather than a romanticized tale.

This book would make a great gift ( even a Christmas gift!) for a middle school history buff with an
Jim Murphy did an excellent job researching and writing this historical nonfiction book for young adults. He expertly and concisely explained the causes and effects of WWI, conveying the pointlessness of the war. While most American history books, whether they be fiction, nonfiction, or even textbooks, focus on American involvement in WWI, Murphy accurately and unashamedly excludes from mentioning the U.S. in the first five chapters of his book. Instead, he follows the wars progression chronolog ...more
Chrissy Demarco
Truce by Jim Murphy takes place in Austria Hungary during the time of Word War 1. During this time period many nations were pushed to begin fighting in the war, and many soldiers were eager to begin fighting because they thought it would show a sign of strength and loyalty to their country. One inside the war, most men found out that it was not a pleasurable experience and many million soldiers were killed. Like many wars, part of this war took place during Christmas time. This was unlike many o ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
This book is the story of what took place in December, 1914 during World War I. At that time there were two sides fighting. On one side was the German army, and on the other side was Britain and France. They had been foughting for a long time, and a lot of men on both sides died, but neither side could gain any ground. Each side had dug a trench, an actual ditch, that stretched for miles and miles and miles. The two trenches ran parallel to each other.

The soldiers on both sides lived in the tren
Truce by Jim Murphy (2009)
Through a well-explained backdrop, Murphy sets the scene of World War I and what became known as the Great War, for its trench warfare with modernized weaponry and lack of defensive measures that led to millions of casualties. In Truce, Murphy shares an objective view that shows all parties’ men honored to go to war, somewhat naively, before realizing that this would not be a simple fight or an easy win. After months of muddy and unsanitary conditions, soldiers found th
World War I is known as the Great War and the War to End All Wars, but it seems like World War II gets all the attention in schools, media and history books. I for one don't remember learning a lot about WWI in school. I do remember learning a lot and reading a lot about WWII however. So my knowledge about WWI is limited. This book by Jim Murphy was an excellent source of information about the events leading up to the start of the war and some of the things that took place during the war. It is ...more
Summary: A non-fiction explanation with plentiful illustrations of the causes of World War I and the story of the famous Christmas truce, in which many companies of British and German soldiers agreed to stop fighting for Christmas Day.

Verdict: Touching and informative.

Yay!: Provides a more thorough look at an event that is often just a footnote in the narrative of this war. For instance, I thought I knew all about the Christmas truce, but I had no idea that it was actually insubordination. I als
Brenda Lower
From my blog at:

The Great War, World War I is raging through Europe, sending despair through hearts. Soldiers are converging, battle lines are drawn. Death stalks these men, taking its daily toll. Hope is scarce, and the future looks dim.

In the midst of one of the most horrible times of war, one day stands different than the others. Christmas Day, 1914, dawns cold and silent. Instead of bullets, Christmas carols ring through the air. A brief truce between th
Book talk: World War I marked the beginning of modern warfare, but its commanders still used the old war tactics. The results were disastrous. Soldiers were stuck in mud-filled trenches full of disease, afraid to lift their head above the edge for even a second for fear of being struck down by a sharpshooter. The two sides, led to war under false pretenses, would exchange grenades and fire and occasionally be ordered out on doomed charges toward the other side that only resulted in casualties li ...more
Karen Ball
This is the story of the First World War, focusing on one amazing event: a Christmas truce where the soldiers themselves stopped fighting spontaneously, met in the middle of the battlefield, and exchanged gifts and sang carols together... while the military leaders were demanding that they fight and threatening them with court-martial if they disobeyed. This book is much more than the story of that truce, though. It explains how the war began, with details from the assassination of Austria's Arc ...more
When World War I began in July 1914, many people thought it would be over in a matter of weeks. However, weeks quickly turned into months as both sides turned to trench warfare, settling into mud and slime. As Christmas approached, commanding officers demanded there be a continuous push at war, but thousands of men in the trenches along the western front had other ideas. Truces were established between Germans and Allies, and many spent Christmas Eve together in No Man's Land, exchanging present ...more
I thought this book was interesting and gave good background information about WWI and its beginnings, but it was hard for me to really focus on the story. Jim Murphy, the author, did a good job of giving a general overview of the unofficial truce from December 25, 1914, and reasons why each country went to war. However, with so many countries involved and with the way he jumped back and forth between descriptions of countries and their reasons, it was a little confusing. I had to read some part ...more
Kate Belczyk
Murphy, Jim. Truce. Scholastic, 2009. $19.99. 9780545430493. ****
Gr. 4-6—The events leading up to World War I and the course of action during 1914 are not easy topics to introduce to young readers. Even a basic knowledge of European geography may not be familiar to many fourth or fifth graders. The complex political and military maneuvering between Germany, France, Great Britain are even harder to put into basic terms. However, Jim Murphy does an excellent job accomplishing all of this in Truce.
In July of 1914, the world's peace was shattered as one by one, the European nations entered into conflict. But just a few months later in December of that same year, peace was momentarily restored when troops openly defied their commanders' orders and met their enemies in the war-torn barren ground between the trenches of the Western Front, known as No Man's Land. There they sang carols, exchanged small gifts, and attempted to bring about the oft-repeated refrain of "Peace on Earth, goodwill to ...more
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an American author of more than 35 nonfiction and fiction books for children, young adults, and general audiences, including more than 30 about American history. He won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 2010 for his contribution in writing for teens. Jim lives in Maplewood, New Jersey, in a hundred-year-old house with his wife Alison Blank, a children’s TV produce ...more
More about Jim Murphy...
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi The Great Fire My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher (Dear America) Blizzard: The Storm that Changed America

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