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Summary

In the beginning months of World War I, a very strange thing happened. After the fierce trench warfare of November and December, on Christmas Eve, 1914, the fighting spontaneously stopped. Men on both sides laid down their arms and came to celebrate Christmas with each other. They shared food parcels across the lines, sang carols together, and erected Christmas trees with candles. They buried the dead, exchanged presents, and even played soccer together.

Stanley Weintraub uses the letters and diaries of the men present to underscore the reality of this strange, delicate, twilight-like state of truce, when peace and good will really were for all men. It was with reluctance that the truce came to an end, and men had to get back to the business of killing.

©2001 Stanley Weintraub (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic reviews

"An emotionally stirring, uplifting, yet ultimately sad story brilliantly told by a gifted writer." ( Booklist)
"Edward Holland excels with his German, French, three classes of British English, and some well-aged Scots. Nor is he taxed by the requirement to recite poetry, soldier's prayers, and even to sing a bit." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jo
  • TalbingoAustralia
  • 19-10-09

Excellent listening

I really enjoyed Stanley Weintraub's style and the manner Edward Holland (narrator) brought the book to life. Weintraub touches on the subject of propaganda and the attitudes shared by men on apposing sides after initiating the truce. The use of diary entries, letters from eye witnesses and the description of life in the trenches provided a greater understanding regarding the reluctance to continue fighting after Christmas 1914. I found it hard to break away from the audio.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Collin
  • 20-12-17

Remarkable story remarkably told

This retelling of a remarkable event in the history of our world is impeccably written and brilliantly narrated.

That might be a good enough recommendation, but it does little justice. It is difficult to describe the detail that must have gone into the research. You must listen to appreciate the blending of poetic colour with historical fact that went into the writing. The author clearly loves the romantic elements of the story and, at the same time, considers himself a guardian of historic truth and verifiable fact.

Perhaps sometimes without meaning to, although several times with a clear intent, the author provides sublime insights that apply to our world today. The story itself is full of joy and sadness and raw human emotion that the author displays for the listener with perfect timing, yet without unnecessary embellishment.

The narrator’s careful and respectful use of German, English, Scottish, French and other accents give a voice to personal letters of the men involved.

Whether you come for a heart-warming Christmas story, interesting historical details, or something more profound, you’ll find it. For me, listening to this is now an annual experience that will be part of my Christmas traditions for years to come.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Srvivore
  • 30-01-16

Silent Night: a hope and prayer

A. true story of the meaning of Christmas, demonstrating the goodness that dwells in the heart and soul of man. In the last chapter the author posits of what might have happened if the world took the small embers of the Christmas Truce 1914 and carried it's spirit and light to brighten the world with the first and true message of the first Christmas...Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Man!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. Tumnus
  • 25-12-15

Everyone needs to read this book

I just finished this on Christmas. In a world where my county has been at war most of my life this book opened my mind to the insanity of war.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • T. Vedder
  • 25-11-15

Just okay.

An amazing & fascinating historical event. Well-researched, but the telling of the story is just okay.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Dave
  • 08-01-12

Too choppy

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The premise of the story caught my interest. However, the writing didn't flow. Possibly the author tried too hard to stick to first person accounts and didn't make the book a

Has Silent Night turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Clarissa D. Jones
  • 05-12-08

Soso Christmas Story

Heartwarming story, just hard to follow because it follows the same event from anothers point of view.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful