The "repetitiousness" of this book is what makes it, to me, so moving and powerful. As the author says on page 15, "A single 'Tannenbaum' on a parapet might be an unexplainable anomaly. Emerging rows of them were something else." The thought of the German Government, the "Evil Huns," somehow sending little lighted Christmas trees to all their men in the front trenches boggled my mind at first. When I read on, the author's account after account of men forced to be enemies but longing to be friends, using their shared symbols of Christmas Carols, Christmas trees, football, and so many other things, was the best argument for peace that I have read in many years.
A handsome, sturdy, lightweight paperback, with easy-to-read type.
Interesting information about the fabled event, but wearies the reader with the many accounts.Seems like more of a research paper or defense of the "happening" being a real one than an actual story (tale) of an event. We've all heard an account of this in the past, and we still don't know just how much is true and how much is rumor, imagination, or exaggeration. But a nice thought nonetheless.
Three or four years ago there were a number of features on NPR and elsewhere about The Christmas Truce of 1914. The story is amazing and simple at the same time. I wondered what more could be added in a full book. The author fleshes out the story with lots of detail added from many sources.
While the story is amazing, I found the book to be a broader study of fraternization between opposing soldiers. That has been going on through the centuries. In the Battle of Chattanooga during the US Civil War opposing soldiers sometimes crossed the Tennessee River for card games and dances together. This book explains how and why enemies can share time together in friendly pursuits.
I had always wondered about the language barrier in The Christmas Truce, but many of the German soldiers had worked in London as waiters and had learned English. One English soldier met his old barber among the German soldiers in the other trenches, and even got a haircut from him on the...
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