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First Christmas of the War
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First Christmas of the War

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  180 ratings  ·  51 reviews
‘ Twas the week of Christmas,
Nineteen forty-one;
The season’s joy overshadowed
by the war just begun.

The Great Depression years finally behind them, the entire Coleman family of Pittsburgh has been looking forward to this Christmas for almost the entire year. For the first time in more than a decade, Gerald and Irene Coleman have tucked away enough extra money to make up for
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Published June 1st 2010 by Alan Simon Books
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For all of my friends who are World War II fans, this is a great new book. I got it from The setting is Pittsburgh, a few weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Coleman family is a middle-class, working class family from the area comprised of five members. The story moves nicely and explores what was going on with each individual person. There is one son who is draft age, another who will soon be. There are other teenagers in the family and a small child. Everyone is trying t ...more
I enjoyed this book enough to know I'll be reading the next one! I found myself transported to that time and feeling what the family felt. The characters aren't romanticized - they are very human - no one is perfect and they are all trying to do their best with what they are given.

The book shows what the Coleman family felt and went through before and during Christmas 1941, thus what most U.S. families were feeling after December 7th, 1941.

If you enjoy being transported to different times, read
Having won a copy as a First Read giveaway through Goodreads, I was THRILLED to have been selected to receive the book. With my very large family, I had several uncles who were involved in the conflicts of WWII (my father being only 4 years old in 1941) including one who was a Marine at Iwo Jima.

The book invites you into the home and lives of the Coleman family, and with the way it's written it feels like you're right there with them! The family members become 'real', and you find yourself want
This is a nice little story of a special time in American history. You follow the Colman family through the first Christmas season after World War II breaks out. All the rationing, shortages, sons going to war, financial difficulties, and still people from this era call it the good old days. America was a different place in the Colman's world. One I wish I could've lived in. This is set in Pittsburgh PA. and I live just north of there and it was fun reading about places I have seen and know abou ...more
This was a surprising book. I expected 1940's memories but it was so much more. Mr. Simon has an insight into the feelings, hopes and disappointments of each of the characters. He depicted teenage/young adult emotions so well, it took me right back to my own. And how did he know the mother's lost dreams for her life so well?
I enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting.
Not expecting a whole lot, I started reading and couldn't stop. Powerful images of Christmas time in a 1940's city; terrific characters; almost A Christmas Story without the humor at times. I can't wait for the author's next book in this series.
Jane Buchbauer
Interesting work of historical fiction spotlighting a family in Pittsburgh personally in the crosshairs of WWII. An easy read it takes in a concise time period that holds fascinating details about the lives of the people of the time.
this was a good book for the holidays. i liked the style of writing. my mother is now reading this book. i plan to share it with at least 2 other friends. great one for a book club. lots of topics for discussion.
It was just before Christmas in the early 1940's with much talk of the war. Mom - Irene was deeply concerned for her boys as one was old enough to be drafted with two more sons not far behind. Young men often endeavored to get their girlfriends to marry them or other less lofty proposals.

Jonathan, Irene and Gerald's eldest at 19 is old enough to be drafted and is debating whether to ask his girl to marry him. He's not thrilled about having to go into the armed forces.

Joseph at 17 is excited and
Having won a copy as a First Read giveaway through Goodreads, I was THRILLED to have been selected to receive the book. With my very large family, I had several uncles who were involved in the conflicts of WWII (my father being only 4 years old in 1941) including one who was a Marine at Iwo Jima.

The book invites you into the home and lives of the Coleman family, and with the way it's written it feels like you're right there with them! The family members become 'real', and you find yourself want
Sep 07, 2012 Susan rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like light, magazine-like, serial stories.
In short: this falls well short of standing on its own as a novel, but does serve as the opening of a multi part story of a family in war time.

I enjoyed the setting both in time and place in this novel set in the home of a cobbler during the first month of World War II. The characters come off as authentic and the interaction between parents and children are believable and well handled; their conversations and conflicts inserted into the story line in moderation and with good timing. The relatio
Mary Anne
This was the story of the Coleman family of Pittsburgh during the Christmas season right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The story is simply told, but paints a good picture of how war affected families in that time period. In today's atmosphere of everyone pretty much looking out for themselves first, it is eye opening to see how people were willing to sacrifice for the sake of the county. In this book, Irene Coleman was trying to plan a perfect Christmas before her two oldest boys would go o ...more
The First Christmas of the War is the 1st book in a planned 4 part series based on the live of the Coleman family. This first book is set in the week before Christmas 1941, just shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the entry of the United States into World War II. It is a simple story of what I imagine was a typical family at a crucial part of US history. Gerald and Irene Coleman are the parents of 5 children and live in Pittsburgh. Gerald is a shoemaker and Irene is a homemaker. The fi ...more
A Sweet Family Story

One Christmas, long ago, I received a book about The Five Peppers and How They Grew. This book seemed an updated version of this young people's story, but of an American family during a Christmas time at a particular historical time in America - WW2. It is well written and interesting to read how families may have behaved before during my Mom's time. If some more had been resolved, or if there were greater depth to the story, I could give it 5 stars.
"The First Christmas of the War" by Alan Simon is a well written story with very good character development. It is a small novel, about times past, where life seemed simpler but yet the same family struggles that we see today were present then. It's a family story that takes place in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and the family is just coming out of the Great Depression when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurs. The Coleman family is planning for a hopefully better Christmas when the disruption of this h ...more
This is the story of a working class Polish-American family right after Pearl Harbor in 1941. The Coleman family is still getting over the shock of the attack on our naval base in Hawaii and also anticipating with some trepidation the enlistment and/or drafting of their two eldest sons into the armed forces. They are also trying to cope with their teenage daughter & her dreams of wartime romance. Both parents are hard working and have few expectations out of the ordinary. Mrs. Coleman, once ...more
This story was very well written with good character development and description of time and place. I got some sense of the evolving tension of war having just been declared while the family was just beginning to feel relief from the hardships of the Depression. From the book's description I expected more emphasis on the family's Christmastime and the mother's desire to make it extra special in light of the new war. Although there were some references to this I felt more time was spent on the pr ...more
This book takes place in December, 1941 hence the name. The book follows the Coleman Family who have 5 Children, two teenage boys old enough to go to war. One almost old enough to go, one teenage girl and one 6 year old child.

The father in the story Gerald has been in the Great War WWI but never saw fighting action. He is very upset that his sons will be either drafted or will sign up on their own.

Their mother, Irene, wants this Christmas to be one of the best they have had since not having much
Follows a Catholic Pittsburgh family through December 1941, dealing with America entering WWII. The premise was good, but the writing was disappointing. Just too basic, written as if for Young Adults. Could have been better, although I did finish it.
Lacey Jordan
This book for me was a First reader win. It is a fun nostalgic look at one families first Christmas of World War II. The Coleman family knew that life would never be the same for them again, but it was the hope of one final Christmas all together that spurred on extra special planning and time.

Even though this book was set in the 40's, there is still such a timeless feel of teenage angst, growing up in a new and different world, and parents trying to navigate the waters with their growing child
Rhonda Lane
Good book

This was a good book for anyone who enjoys historical type reading. The characters are well developed and the time period is interesting . Going to read the second one now and hope the third one is out soon.
Nothing extremely unique or different about this book from many I've read from that era. It was nicely written and held my attention. It was a fast and easy read.
My family is from the Pittsburgh area, and I enjoy reading books in that setting. This was an easy read, entertaining, with area references that I recognized.
Easy, enjoyable read

A nice easy read filled with family trials and love. Interesting to learn more about that time in the world

Warm, heart-touching story of a Pittsburg, PA family dealing with the aftermath of a country that just survived a Depression and the subsequent beginning of WWII and its affects on a simple household. Immigrants from Poland, this shoe shop owner and cobbler feels he must enter the community of workers in the steel mills as his two oldest sons prepare for what they feel will be the "adventure" of war and fighting the Nazi's and Japanese. Pride, determination and a sense of humor help the family e ...more
Gail Lewis
Good World War II book about a family facing the first Christmas following December 7, 1941.
Jane Lump
Slow and clunky writing and overworked description of flat characters.
I really liked this book. This is the first book in a series of 4 that follows the Coleman family through WW II. I read some of the reviews and some downgraded the book because it wasn't "lighthearted" enough. Really!? It takes place right after the US is attacked at Pearl Harbor. Times were very uncertain and many families worried about sons overseas and sons that were about to be drafted. People were trying to make the best of a less than great situation and I think this book captures that moo ...more
A combination of Corliss Archer and Father Knows Best.
A nice read if you're interested in World War II.
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