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Abby McGanney NolanDespite its grim details (including a few photographs of carnage), this is a fitting holiday book
—The Washington Post
On July 29th 1914, the world’s peace was shattered as the artillery of the Austria-Hungary Empire began shelling the troops of the country to its south. What followed was like a row of falling dominoes as one European country after another rushed into war. Soon most of Europe was fighting in ...
On July 29th 1914, the world’s peace was shattered as the artillery of the Austria-Hungary Empire began shelling the troops of the country to its south. What followed was like a row of falling dominoes as one European country after another rushed into war. Soon most of Europe was fighting in this calamitous war that could have been avoided. This was, of course, the First World War.
But who could have guessed that on December 25 the troops would openly defy their commanding officers by stopping the fighting and having a spontaneous celebration of Christmas with their "enemies"? (cont'd)
Opening with a cogent recapof the state of Europe prior to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that focuses on those moments when war might have been averted (if Kaiser Wilhelm had read his mail on time, for instance), the author gracefully moves to the horrific conditions of battle that established the static madness of trench warfare-a madness that, oddly enough, led to enough fraternization across No Man's Land that both British and German High Commands feared what eventually happened. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, from letters home, diaries and recollections of combatants to archival photographs and prints, the author allows the principles to speak: "Altogether we had a great day with our enemies," wrote one British private, "and parted with much handshaking and mutual goodwill."That goodwill didn't last-though in one spot in the Belgian woods the truce lasted almost till Easter-and Murphy takes readers through to the exhausting endgame that spawned the next war, but also he leaves kids with the provocative thought that war need not be inevitable, that the truce "offered reassurance that a kinder, humane spirit could prevail . . . " And if that doesn't make even the Grinch-iest heart grow at least three sizes, then nothing will. Who-pudding, anyone?-Vicky Smith
Posted October 17, 2009
This is a wonderful book! It tells the incredible true story of the spontaneous Christmas truce that happened on the battlefields of World War I, when soldiers on both sides came out of the trenches and exchanged gifts and songs instead of gunfire. TRUCE has an exciting narrative and vivid quotes from diaries and letters, and it captures the sounds, smells, and sights of the battlefield. It also has a moral point--World War I, like many other wars past and present, began with propaganda on all sides and ended up being a long and devastating struggle for everyone. I think readers of all ages will love this book. I did, and I gave it to my 12-year-old cousin who loved it too.
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What a remarkable book this is! I'd heard something about a truce in 1914, but I never had a context to place it in. Here is a story about the best that mankind has to offer. It is also a story about a race to war, and a war based on lies -- all things that sound ever so sadly familiar in terms of today. Jim Murphy lets soldiers voice speak, and he uses remarkable period images to create a thought-provoking, moving volume. I'll be giving this handsome book out as Christmas presents. What could be better than sharing a book about peace?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2010
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