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Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914
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Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  4,670 ratings  ·  296 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 from ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 30th 2001 by Pocket Books (first published 2001)
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Jordan Schriver Yes - I think a middle school youth interested in the First World War would find this a very interesting read. Absolutely have it available on a shelf…moreYes - I think a middle school youth interested in the First World War would find this a very interesting read. Absolutely have it available on a shelf for individual study, but I don't know if I would recommend it as a class study, not because of the content, but I think the structure (loose narrative across many different voices and sources) would make it hard to teach and talk about at a middle school level. (less)

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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  4,670 ratings  ·  296 reviews

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Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Rebecca McNutt
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
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,
Meara Breuker
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Chris Gordon
My first exposure to the WWI Christmas Truce was when I saw the foreign movie Noel many years ago. The concept of an unsanctioned wartime truce between soldiers in the midst of a brutal world war was something I was immediately infatuated by, for how often does one hear of such things happening today – or ever, for that matter? The movie perfectly captured the emotion of the event, but I was reluctant to believe in its authenticity, for movies are, of course, known for exaggerating the truth and ...more
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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.
Rebecca Hemphill
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it
It was very factual. Lacked any emotion. The story was great, but the writing was hard to get through and some things were repeated a few times.
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
This is a plain, but well-researched history of the "Silent Night", the spontaneous truce initiated (largely) by the Germans on the first Christmas of WWI. Some of the complaints I've read about it are true, in the sense that you have to kind of know what WWI was, the significance of Flanders field, the horrors of trench warfare, and so on. It's not a WWI primer. And I'll say that the book those people want would be a very cool book, too.

But there's something very winning about relying on
Nov 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for my November book discussion group, where we all were told to choose any book written about WW I. I had seen the movie "Joyeux Noel" which is a fictionalized account of the Christmas truce that sprang into being along the trenches of 1914 Flanders. The movie is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. That is why I chose this book. However I am a fiction fan, and I found the non-fiction book a difficult read. I am glad to have read the piece because the subject ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Its become a common theme of my reviews to say this, but, yet again, its the best way to describe what I just read: There just was not enough information here to fill an entire almost 200 page book. This is a magazine length story lengthened to book length by overuse of quotes, overly minor details, counterfactual speculation, and undeveloped ruminations on the paradoxes of warfare.

Mixed in with all of that excess baggage, there is a nice human story. Warring parties mingling to play soccer and
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, ww1
While not a bad book, this is not quite a book.. Honestly, I was expecting more but at 175 pages, it has a VERY padded feel--the pointless padding and repetitions removed from this book would probably bring it down to an interesting 50 pages, which might make it too long for magazine article, far too short for a book. 1914 flashmob truces mixed with 1985 children's literature. And I'm not even kidding. Every mention of the truce, no matter what year, or genre, or fictional or laboriously ...more
The story as a whole is good. The novel could benefit from some editing. Oftentimes, I felt I was rereading a passage because an event would be explained and then re-explained nearly verbatim due to the author using multiple sources that say the same thing to convey that these events actually happened. I felt the novel would have benefited from footnotes. There were texts in German and other languages that were not translated, which I had to use google to look up or continue reading using ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a reader I struggle with non-fiction, war is not my favorite topic, and in the past I have struggled with reading for history.
That being said I picked up this book because the Christmas Truce is one of the few aspects of war, specifically World War One, that interests me.
I liked that this was really not too long, only 7 chapters, and each chapter covered a different aspect of the truce as it started, progressed and ended.
It was interesting to read the "what if" chapter at the end, because
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
A fascinating topic, but the book lacks focus and structure. If you’re really interested in the Christmas truce, worth reading but otherwise, just watch the film Joyeux Noel.
Dec 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James (JD) Dittes
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: germany, world-war-i, 2014
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
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 ...more
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... ...more
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
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.
Jarl Balgruuf
Jun 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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.
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.
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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 ...more
“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.” 3 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.” 2 likes
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