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11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944
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11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  305 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Here, Weintraub provides an account of the critical days in December, 1944, when Nazi Germany seemed on the brink of disintegration. He tells how the Russians were rapidly advancing in the east, while the Americans and British, after a brief pause, were primed to thrust into Germany from the west.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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May 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I found 11 days in December slightly disappointing. I expected more from Mr. Weintraub. For those looking for a good overall narrative of the events of Dec/Jan 1944/1945 need to look elsewhere.

What this is, is a slender (180 pgs) series of anecdotes from both high level, Patton, Bradley, Monty etc, lower level troops and even some celebrities (Hemingway, Dietrich). While the stories are interesting and give some flavor to what was happening, there is no overall connection or theme to them.

Weintraub makes it clear that this is no scholarly military history of the Bulge campaign, but I can't in good conscience describe this as even an effective or successful narrative history of incidents in and around the Ardennes during Christmas of 1944. The text within the book is loosely connected by an implied timeline which is reflected in the chapter headings, but the paragraphs within are disjointed, factoid-like, and many are even just plain superfluous. I kept thinking that the book woul ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would disagree with the quote on the back of the book which says "well written." I suspect this book was quickly cobbled together, in order to fulfill a request or publishing contract, from work Weintraub is doing on a much larger history of the WWII European theater of operations. This book needed organization, more and better maps, a timeline, and a list of officers from both sides with their divisions included in order to help the average reader. Weintraub would give the full name of a gene ...more
Kevin Keating
This was one book I read online (listened to). It was pretty interesting but is not a god idea to listen to war books as it's hard to figure out where the action is taking place (small towns in Belgium and Lux, pronounced too Frenchily. This book was ok I guess. Didn't like narrator much. Kept pronouncing Bastogne wrong. Did learn about coverup of the Leopoldville by Belgium. Sure made Monty look like an ass. I'll do more research on that.
Kim. E.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: z-loc-belgium
There is much to learn about World War II for myself beyond Hollywood movies and the military channel on my cable system. The Battle of the Bulge, referred to so often is one of the military actions I'm particularly interested in, so when I learned about this book I thought it would be a good place to start.

The Battle of the Bulge, a name General Eisenhower was not particularly pleased with, began with a surprise attack ordered by Adolf Hitler, and was full of missteps for the allies. For exampl
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not full, critical history of the Ardennes offensive, nor does it pretend to be. (For that, the reader should see Antony Beevor’s “Ardennes” or John Eisenhower’s “The Biter Woods”, to name just a couple from the vast amount of literature out there.) Weintraub states that his purpose was to just give an impression of what 11 days on a frozen WWII battlefield seemed like, using the lens of Christmas to bring it into focus. Within that narrow set of restrictions, Weintraub succeeds quite ni ...more
The writing is clunky. It's easy to get lost, as the author jumps around a lot. But it's filled with great anecdotes.

The author doesn't seem to like Montgomery at all, nor does be apparently care much for Bradley.
Interesting listen. Interesting to hear briefly about Hemmingway, Marlene Dietrich, and Kurt Vonnegut.
Heidi Rothert
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I learned things :)
Mar 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
A different take on the Battle of the Bulge. We lost a lot of American soldiers there.
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
The book 11 Days in December is a short, narrative of the days of Christmas in the Ardennes , December, 1944 when the German forces launched a surprise, devastating attack in what was a quiet sector of the lines. This book is not a military history , nor does it attempt to be; it is more a reporter's notebook of what those days were like for the soldiers of both side locked in a deadly combat.
It does offer many interesting and touching scenes of " human interest" , often comparing official news
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, nonfiction
By December 1944, Nazi Germany seemed on the brink of disintegration. The Russians were rapidly advancing in the east, while the Americans and British, after a brief pause, were primed to thrust into Germany from the west. So the German counterattack through the Ardennes was a complete surprise and, initially, a great success. Ultimately, however, the Germans failed to split the Allied armies and drive to the sea. Still, Weintraub has written a compact, fast-moving account of those critical days ...more
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My dad served in the Army during World War II and was severely injured in the clean up of the Battle of Bulge. I have always known that's what the scars on his chest were from and have seen his Purple Heart a couple of times and heard bits and pieces of the story throughout my life. In the past couple of years, Dad has started to talk a little more about his time in the Army and I have been learning more each time from him. I have recently done a little more study and reading bout the Battle of ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
I never knew a lot about the Battle of the Bulge, it seems to be one of those battles from WW2 that is often briefly mentioned in high school and college courses and not much more. So my limited knowledge of it came from the one episode in Band of Brothers where Easy company was involved in the fighting. So reading a book about those 11 days which had one of the highest casualty rates of the war (10,276 killed and 23,218 missing). It was intriguing to read about the different personalities of th ...more
Dec 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Not an in-depth account of the Ardennes Campaign, in the vein of MacDonald's "A Time For Trumpets," Weintraub's "11 Days in December" is reminiscent of Stephen Ambrose's histories. This book is more about flavor than substance, and it helps to have a pretty good understanding of the geography and chronology of the 30-day battle (as the title says, the first 11 days, from 16 to 27 December 1944, are covered here) because the narrative skips around in time and space in order to address themes like ...more
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read 11 Days in December in conjunction with research I was doing for a paper on the Battle of the Bulge. Thanks to the context I had from my other research, I was able to follow the plot quite easily, something that may not be so easy for those with no background knowledge. Weintraub does state that this book is not meant to be a comprehensive history - I would recommend Snow and Steel: Battle of the Bulge 1944-1945 for that purpose - it is simply the perspectives of various men who were ther ...more
Suzanne Jacob
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
This short, concise history of the Battle of the Bulge takes the 15,000 ft look. It doesn't follow platoons throughout each minute but rather follows several GIs throughout the Battle. The author also discusses the various generals - on both sides - who valiantly defended their turf. The only general who did not come out looking good was British Field Marshall Sir Bernard Montgomery.
The writing was easy and enjoyable. Definitely a readable book for the average and above-average historian.
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
My father-in-law was at the Battle of the Bulge when it broke out. He told me all the stories that are in this book before I actually even found this book and read it. He only started talking about the war when he was in his late 70's, and his own family was bored with his stories and would not sit and listen to him. But after reading this book I know all the stories he told me were true, and the sudden realization of the horrors he suffered as a young man from the hills of West Virginia saddene ...more
Nov 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
Got this from the library on audio book. I made it all the way through, but it was very disjointed and damn near impossible to follow. I suppose if you are very familiar with WWII and the Battle of the Bulge, and you know the names of all the generals in the European theater, then you may enjoy this. I, however, need to do some homework first. This book doesn't follow a central character, it jumps around a lot, telling many stories from many points of view.
May 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
I read the author's previous title about the Christmas truce in 1914, and loved it. I expected the same from this book. But it hits the ground running with little or no back-story for those of us unfamiliar with the intimate who's who details of the Battle of the Bulge, and I got lost very quickly. This would appeal to a die-hard fanatic interested in the European campaigns, but not the casual reader like myself.
David Teska
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A good anecdotal look at the Battle of the Bulge and the larger (Patton, Montgomery) than live figures but a good focus on the dog faces in the infantry who made the battle the success it was by preventing it from becoming the disaster the German hoped. With all that's been written about this epoch last gasp of the Third Reich it really never had a chance of defeating the Western Allies or in getting to Antwerp.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have read this before but its been a while and wanted to read it again, especially at this time of year. It makes me realize how safe, warm, and blessed I am to be reading it in the comforts of my home. These men and women spent their Christmas surrounded by horrors brought on by war, yet they still tried to find the spirit of Christmas in the simple things.
Robert Miller
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Somewhat disappointed in the book as I read it. It seems to be a great deal of regurgitated information I have read elsewhere about Wacht am Rhein and that really drew from the book. Too much time with Patton and Monty and all of the other "big hats" of the war.

I'd give it a 2.5 if it were possible. 2 seems too low and 3 too much.
Daniel Farabaugh
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is the second book that I have written by this author and while I liked it better than the first, I am still not overwhelmed. I found it difficult to keep a lot of the units straight and I never felt exceedingly engaged. I think the brevity of the book played a large role in this as you did not have time to develop an affection for the people involved.
Scott L.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Not a well-researched or a well-written book; I had much higher hopes for it than what it delivered. Annoyances include a lack of maps to show the fluid action; and spelled Bedell-Smith's name as "Beetle". I cannot in good conscience recommend this book at all, when there are so many better books on the Battle of the Bulge.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Interesting look at the Battle of the Bulge through the lens of how troops on both sides celebrated Christmas. (I listened to the audiobook version though, and the editing on this was poor. It sounded as if the reader had recorded words frequently used in the book and a computer had assembled them. The content of the book is 3-star, the experience of listening to it was a 1-star.)
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are certainly more definitive works on this subject than one will find in this slender volume. A couple swipes are made at taking some of the shine off the performance of both Bradley and Eisenhower, but there seems no huge conflicts with such as the story told in either "Band of Brothers" or "Citizen Soldier" One could do worse.
Jennifer Bohnhoff
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: world-war-ii
This is a short collection of anecdotes about the Battle of the Bulge. It is not particularly well organized, nor is there much analysis. I learned nothing from this book that I hadn't read elsewhere, which indicates to me that Weintraub didn't find any new sources to add to the literature of this period.
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I have enjoyed Mr. Weintraub's previous WWII books. This short (compared to his others) book is a bit disjointed. As avid WWII reader, I have a good understanding of the Battle of the Bulge. If not, I'm not sure I could have have followed along with this book. The one thing is he does not convey the seriousness of this crisis to the Allied forces. I was definitely disappointed.
Aug 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
In short, this book had nothing new. When one is regurgitating the same old facts, stories, and articles, it would be better to try to find a more interesting writing style. I don’t recommend this to even the most interested in WWI

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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...