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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Truce The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting - Jim Murphy

Truce : The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting
Jim Murphy
Scholastic
ISBN 9780545130493


This book tells of an amazing event in the history of warfare. However it also does much more than just that. It gives a clear and concise history of what lead up to World War I, and the different governments' plans to achieve a quick victory, none of which worked. What ended up happening was a long brutal war, with new technology of mass destruction and no new tactics. Hundreds of thousands died uselessly, because of these outdated tactics combined with new weapons, and a belief that each side thought they were superior and in the right.

What ended up happening was a giant standoff - trench warfare that had trenches that ran from the North Sea Coast all the way to the Swiss border, with the trenches being from 50 to 1000 yards apart. The Germans were on one side of the trench and the French, English and Belgians were on the other. Originally both sides thought the war would be over by Christmas, each side shelling, bombing and launching raids on the other. Massive losses on both sides contributed to doubt among those on the front lines. Then on Christmas Eve of 1914, a miracle happened. Almost all the way along the lines a spontaneous peace erupted; for more than 24 hours no fighting took place, the soldiers met in the middle of no-man's land between the trenches and exchanged gifts and songs and Christmas greetings and wishes.

This book masterfully tells this story of politicians and military leaders who wanted to continue fighting and soldiers who did not obey orders and had a Christmas miracle. The book is full of historical photographs, illustrations and quotes from those in the events. The special features at the end of the book will be great for educators, students, or students of history alike. It has a great timeline, extensive notes and sources, and a section with more references for World War I resources, from books, movies and on the web.

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