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Silent Night


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About the Author

Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of numerous histories and biographies, including Silent Night.


At Christmas time in 1914, blood enemies emerged from their trenches in Flanders Field in Belgium, shook hands, and wished each other a merry Christmas. In his newest book, Weintraub (A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War) draws on letters, diaries, and a variety of other source material to tell the inspiring story of the spontaneous Christmas Truce of World War I, when enemy troops laid down their arms, exchanged gifts, and reveled in their shared humanity. The desperate longing for peace, which Weintraub captures through the words of the soldiers themselves, underscores the poignancy of the ending of the truce, when outraged commanders ordered newly made friends to kill one another. Despite the impact of Weintraub's storytelling and documentation, some readers may be stymied by occasionally untranslated German or confused by his interweaving of fictional accounts of the event. Still, Weintraub's work stands as a unique testament to our fundamental brotherhood. Recommended for public and academic libraries. Michael F. Russo, Louisiana State Univ. Libs., Baton Rouge Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"Weintraub has brought an obscure and bizarre incident to life with a flair that gives the reader a detailed glimpse of a unique Christmas story." The Seattle Times "Deeply moving." The Boston Globe "Reveals [Weintraub's] skill as a researcher and deftness as a narrator." Publishers Weekly "Weintraub does an excellent job of preserving for posterity this remarkable wartime truce." The New American"

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