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

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  4,374 Ratings  ·  251 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published October 30th 2001 by Free Press (first published 2001)
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Lawyer
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in history and the hope for peace
Recommended to Lawyer by: Read as a member of Around WWI observing the Centenary of the Great War
Silent Night in No Man's Land: Christmas, 1914

Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war
I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was filled with men
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again

And when the papers all were signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed
And the people in the streets below
Were dancing round and round
And guns and swords and uni
...more
Rebecca McNutt
I'm not sure whether this book is hopeful, or just really depressing. Either way, this intriguing true story is well captured in this book, and it paints a brief moment of sanity in the chaos of war.
Sue
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
The Christmas Truce has lingered strikingly in the
memory even when its details have disappeared into myth.
What began as "the Wonderful Day" to its participants
remains a potent stimulus to the creative memory. Christmas
1914 evokes the stubborn humanity within us, and suggests
an unrealized potential to burst its seams and rewrite a
century. It lives also in the sardonic soldier exchanges
in Oh! What a Lovely War! and even in the fantasy
encounters of the intrepid Snoopy and the Red Baron, i
...more
Meara Breuker
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot understand why this book has such high ratings. It's an interesting topic that could have made for a compelling book. The book could have benefited greatly from a discussion of geography, as not all of us intimately know the places described in the book. In addition, a discussion of the different groups of soldiers (Saxons, Westphalians, Prussians, etc.) and a brief history on their backgrounds and conflicts and where they hail from would have been helpful. A map of the front and a list ...more
Caroline
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The Christmas truce of WWI has gained fame through movies and historical fiction but how does one separate truth from fiction? This is a wonderful work based on research of journals and letters written by the soldiers and officers who were there when it happened.

Only a few months into the First World War, troops from Scotland, India, Germany, France, Prussia, England and Belgium on the rain soaked battlefields of Flanders were already sick of the soggy, cold and muddy conditions of war. They we
...more
Samantha
The WWI Christmas truce is a historical phenomena that has sadly begun to fall from general knowledge. Prior to the heavy losses of the Somme and decades of animosity that would result between German and British forces, the unofficial Christmas truce in 1914 demonstrated that few ordinary men were, at that time, interested in killing each other.

I have read several novelized versions of the truce, which really did a better job of painting a picture of what it was like to experience this unique ce
...more
Pamela
Dec 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating topic, woeful delivery. I tried giving this book a go but found it too darn frustrating with the stilted transitions, choppy construction, awkward wording and run-on sentences. Back to the library it goes . . .
Esteban del Mal
5 stars because even if it isn't historically accurate, I want it to be.
Sara
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war, own
It is with awe that people speak of the unprecedented Christmas Eve truce amongst those all along the Western Front in 1914, the first winter of World War I. Nothing like it had ever been seen before or since. The German troops risked life and limb to place their Christmas trees along the parapets and trenches. Guns fell silent, replace by the sound of voices raised in harmony to sing carols. Men from oppossing forces came together,, crossing into No-Man's Land to exchange gifts of cigarrettes a ...more
Lynai
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
A thriller that wasn't so thrilling, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.
I think teens/young/adults may enjoy this more, but not the "hardcore" thriller/mystery readers. A short and easy read, a comfortable companion for an hour flight or bus ride.
Cory Mortell
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cory Mortell 2/4/11
Silent Night: The Story of the World
War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub

The Christmas Truce that occurred during World War I in 1914 is one of the most memorable and amazing events in the history of war. Stanley Weintraub’s Silent Night depicts this event in detail from his own knowledge, diaries, journal entries and other records from actual soldiers in the war. I enjoyed reading this book a lot, and it also helped me get a better grasp on the history of the World War
...more
Angie
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: "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 friend ...more
Tweedledum
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James (JD) Dittes
On December 24, 1914, forces of the Triple Entente suffered an invasion of Christmas trees. At may places along the Western Front of World War I, German forces emerged from their trenches, holding Tannenbaume aloft and proclaiming, "You no shoot. We no shoot!"

The truce stuck for a few days. Comrades were buried during the hours of ceasefire--victims of the trench warfare that had gone on for only four months at that time. Gifts were exchanged--beer for bully-beef, cigars for cigarettes, scarves
...more
Kathryn
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-great-war
Weintraub''s book is based on a series of personal testimonies, fictionalized accounts written post-war, and letters home that told of the truce, the latter being the main reason word got out about these soldiers crossing no-man's-land to play soccer, exchange Christmas treats, and create very short-term friendships before their superiors would inevitably force them to start shooting at each other again. Often they didn't have to because the normal rotations would push them back to the supportiv ...more
Magpie67
A book I could re-read any time I need a reminder how difficult and tedious this war was with the trenches. I learned that Hitler was in WWI as a corporal and I see a few reasons he came at France hard during WWII. The defeat and the art and his own small mind were already a mess during this war. The what if's in the last chapters are indeed worth mentioning especially as debates. What if the war ended with this truce? More Lives would have been saved and Germany might have been different... WWI ...more
Christine
A short, somewhat repetitive, but fairly well documented and very well illustrated account of the unofficial “truce” that has haunted the memory of the The Great War for the century since it occurred. My copy says nothing about a “new epilogue,” but the last chapter, “What If–?” serves that purpose adequately.

The truce was repeated in subsequent years, albeit not as flagrantly as the first time. One of those “undercover” truces takes place in The Passions of Patriots.

As always, the faces in the
...more
Jarl Balgruuf
I thought this book was very interesting. I was compelled to continue reading it and never felt bored. I will say that the writing style is a bit hard to follow. Many sentences will have 5 or 6 commas in them that just makes the pacing/flow of the author's statements very difficult to interpret. Sometimes I had to read paragraphs a couple of times to figure out the flow of things. It felt a bit like interpreting nested if statements; to compare it to programming anyway. Nonetheless I would highl ...more
Jeffrey
Feb 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlie
A good book but a bit awkward to read at times. The Silent Night story takes place during Christmas in 1914. The author brings out both sides of what took place during the Christmas Truce. Don't look for the American side because it isn't there since we came on board near the end of the war. The last chapter is a good one to read. That chapter bundles up the loose ends and any questions that you were thinking about while reading about the Christmas Truce.
Phillip
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book about World War One. The war and the world stopped one Christmas. soldiers on both sides, tired of fighting in the cold wet muddy trenches, declared an unauthorized truce. Where they exchanged gifts and sang Christmas Carols. It sounds beautiful. A moment of sanity in a world of chaos.
BookishStitcher
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The "what if section" about what could have happened if an end to the war had happened after the Christmas truce made me cry. So much death could have been avoided.
Maryanne Dipasquale
IT will reaffirm your faith in humanity while making you wish you could really, really, really change the world.
Nicole
Dec 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Before I read this I had no idea this happens. It's beautiful sad and hopeful at the same time. Talk about irony.
Shannon
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
A perfect story for the holidays. Not many know about this great story of humanity overcoming war, if only a day. Stories like this give me hope for the world.
Jimmy Lee
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
That the truce occurred is an historical fact. This book provides the varying accounts of the truce, which occurred up and down the firing line, on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, in 1914. For some, this might be a little tiresome - there are a lot of regiments involved, and a lot of different accounts. But that's actually part of the miracle - that so many different bands of men actually broke down and looked at each other as human beings for two days, independent of each other and against spe ...more
Daniel
Dec 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it has its moments--an alternative history "What If?" chapter and an anecdote about an angry military cook charging into No Man's Land with a tree in hand were particular favorites--Weintraub's book is uneven overall.
The problem is that the central beats of the Christmas Truce were few in number and relatively universal along the line of conflict in Flanders. Troops put up decorative trees, caroled, fraternized and played friendly games of soccer. Consequently, the stories in "Silent Nigh
...more
David Garza
Nov 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the book was hard to follow at time (the author seemed to jump from anecdote to anecdote, over used foreign words, and cluttered the text by specifying every single unit down to the regiment numbers [which often was unnecessary]), I have to honor the fact that the author backed up his stories with primary sources. The Christmas Truce was handled in a unsentimental way and was not romanticized, which I feel was necessary since these armistice events seem to have been mythologized in the ...more
John Szalasny
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Christmas music stations still play "Snoopy's Christmas" every three hours or so. Everyone today thinks that this is the imaginations of a dog house flying comic strip hero. No one thinks that there is a real life story that this is created from. SILENT NIGHT is that real life story.

Recreated from news reports, letters from the front, etc., Stanley Weintraub tells the story of Christmas, 1914, and the unofficial truce and the fraternization of the war front between the German and Allied forces.
...more
Bruce Fogerty
A very short book, a very easy, quick read. Could have been much shorter, given a lot of the material is repetitive.

A simple narrative of the spontaneous truce that broke out between the French, English, and German soldiers in the trenches during Christmas 1914. Maybe this is what all soldiers should do. Pack up, go home, and end the madness. Adds a certain dimension to the old phrase, rich man's war, poor man's fight. The book shows few of the ground soldiers on both sides had any personal anim
...more
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Weintraub was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 17, 1929. He was the eldest child of Benjamin and Ray Segal Weintraub. He attended South Philadelphia High School, and then he attended West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University of Pennsylvania) where he received his B.S. in education in 1949. He continued his education at Temple University where he received his mast ...more
More about Stanley Weintraub...
“On both sides in 1915 there would be more dead on any single day than yards gained in the entire year. And there would be nearly four more years of attrition—not to determine who was right, but who was left.” 1 likes
“A future general, Captain Jack of the Cameronians, averse to the truce when on the line, had speculated in his diary a few days earlier, in almost Shavian fashion, about the larger implications of the cease-fire, which had extended farther than governments conceded, "It is interesting to visualize the close of a campaign owing to the opposing armies--neither of them defeated--having become too friendly to continue the fight.” 1 likes
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