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

Stanley Weintraub, Author
Stanley Weintraub, Author Plume Books $15 (224p) ISBN 978-0-452-28367-1
Reviewed on: 10/28/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1487-2
Hardcover - 249 pages - 978-0-684-86621-5
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-0-684-87281-0
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-0-7540-1856-8
Hardcover - 978-1-84283-529-6
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-4711-3519-4
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4391-0713-3
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Popular historian Weintraub (MacArthur's War, etc.), emeritus professor of arts and humanities at Penn State, tackles a sober subject from WWI, when amid the millions of casualties in the obscene carnage of trench war, a mutual agreement arose for a cease-fire at Christmastime of the first year of conflict. Drawing from secondary sources as well as much archival research in a variety of languages, Weintraub has compiled a brief, anecdotal account that reveals his skill as a researcher and deftness as a narrator in chapters like ""An Outbreak of Peace,"" ""Our Friends, the Enemy"" and ""How It Ended."" There are lively anecdotes, contemporary doggerel and some extraneous asides such as that ""a Chinese fourth century B.C. military text mentions a primitive form of football."" While succinctly conveying the mood and stakes of this unprecedented display of mutual trust during war, Weintraub's short book could help draw Malcolm Brown and Shirley Seaton's magisterial Christmas Truce back into print. In the meantime, and just in time for the holidays, we have this offering from one of our most patient chroniclers.
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