Picks and Pans Review: Silent Night
The Story of the WWI Christmas Truce
By Stanley Weintraub
In December 1914 German and British soldiers were staring each other down across a moonscape of barbed wire and bloated corpses. Then a soccer game broke out.
Many soccer games, actually. All was quiet on the Western front for a few days around Christmas. Jeering across the trenches—many Germans spoke English—led to Christmas carols, then a cease-fire so both sides could bury their dead. Later, enemies began sharing toasts, swapping beer for plum pudding and kicking a ball around.
Historian Weintraub, piecing together accounts from letters, says nothing like it had happened before. His is a moving story of horror taking a holiday. (Free Press, $25)
Bottom Line: Humanity in no-man's-land
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