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

Extended Audio Sample Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce, by Stanley Weintraub Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,750 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stanley Weintraub Narrator: Edward Hollan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 friends.

“Silent Night,” by renowned military historian Stanley Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history. It had been lost in the tide of horror that filled the battlefields of Europe for months and years afterward. Yet in December 1914, the Great War was still young, and the men who suddenly threw down their arms and came together across the front lines—to sing carols, exchange gifts and letters, eat and drink, and even play friendly games of soccer—naively hoped that the war would be short-lived, and that they were fraternizing with future friends.

It began when German soldiers lit candles on small Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian, and German troops serenaded each other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead in an age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters, and expressed deep admiration for one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many men aimed harmlessly high overhead.

Sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy. Surely the forgotten Christmas Truce was one of history’s most beautiful moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it. Stanley Weintraub’s moving re-creation demonstrates that peace can be more fragile than war, but also that ordinary men can bond with one another despite all efforts of politicians and generals to the contrary.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is an emotionally stirring, uplifting, yet ultimately sad story brilliantly told by a gifted writer.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Weintraub wonders at the close of this inspired study, would have happened if the soldiers on both sides had refused to take up arms again? His counterfactual scenarios are intriguing, and well worth pondering.” 

    Amazon.com, editorial review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jake | 2/15/2014

    " I read a bit of this every so often when I need a pick me up. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Karen | 1/18/2014

    " Read several years ago & just listened on tape because I had it & needed something for a long drive. Fun light read with Christmas theme. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Will | 1/18/2014

    " This nice story is well-known (possibly thanks to Paul McCartney???)and a bit overdone. It had no significant impact on the war, therefore this book has little to really talk about that is not conveyed equally well in the music video. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Eminstitches | 1/15/2014

    " This was a bit of a challenging read, would have been better if I was better at skimming I think. Lots of use of german words and phrases with no translation (and I don't know any German), also at times seemed a little like train of thought and not always well organized writing. I figured out the style as I started getting further in the book, but it was still challenging to follow. It was interesting overall and the best chapter by far was the "What If?" chapter...lots of food for thought. "

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