SILENT NIGHT brings to life one of the most unlikely and touching events in the annals of war. In the early months of WWI, on Christmas Eve, men on both sides left their trenches, laid down their arms, and joined in a spontaneous celebration with their new friends, the enemy. For a brief, blissful time, remembered since in song and story, a world war stopped. Even the participants found what they were doing incredible. Germans placed candle-lit Christmas trees on trench parapets and warring soldiers sang carols. In the spirit of the season they ventured out beyond their barbed wire to meet in No Man's Land, where they buried the dead in moving ceremonies, exchanged gifts, ate and drank together, and joyously played football, often with improvised balls. The truce spread as men defied orders and fired harmlessly into the air. But, reluctantly, they were forced to re-start history's most bloody war. SILENT NIGHT vividly recovers a dreamlike event, one of the most extraordinary of Christmas stories.
Stanley Weintraub is Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at Penn State University and the author of notable histories and biographies including 11 Days in December, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, MacArthur's War, Long Day's Journey into War, and A Stillness Heard Round the World: The End of the Great War. He lives in Newark, Delaware.
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