Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce
A short, somewhat repetitive, but fairly well documented and very well illustrated account of the unofficial “truce” that has haunted the memory of the The Great War for the century since it occurred. My copy says nothing about a “new epilogue,” but the last chapter, “What If–?” serves that purpose adequately.
The truce was repeated in subsequent years, albeit not as flagrantly as the first time. One of those “undercover” truces takes place in The Passions of Patriots.
As always, the faces in the photos are captivating. One can’t help wondering why so many men who knew the truth about one another’s essential similarity could not have combined against the few whose ambitions had precipitated the war, and ended it, as the pundits had predicted, “by Christmas.”
But despite the modernity of the war and how we may identify with the men who participated in it, the combatants did belong to a different era, one that regarded civilization in a different light to how their descendants have come to define it since then. And yet, pockets of those century-old prejudices still persist, making the first Christmas truce of the First World War the first of many lessons still not learned from that conflict.