Reading List Monthly
MilitaryReadingList.com - January 2002 Issue
Recommended Book of the Month
- Silent Night : The Story of
World War I Christmas Truce
In the news - Terrorism
Link of the Month - The Rewards For Justice Program
was one of history's most powerful -- yet forgotten -- Christmas stories. It
took place in the improbable setting of the mud, cold rain and senseless killing
of the trenches of World War I. It happened in spite of orders to the contrary
by superiors; it happened in spite of language barriers. And it still stands as
the only time in history that peace spontaneously arose from the lower ranks in
a major conflict, bubbling up to the officers and temporarily turning sworn
enemies into friends.
Silent Night, by renowned military historian Stanley
Weintraub, magically restores the 1914 Christmas Truce to history. It had been
lost in the tide of horror that filled the battlefields of Europe for months and
years afterward. Yet in December 1914 the Great War was still young, and the men
who suddenly threw down their arms and came together across the front lines --
to sing carols, exchange gifts and letters, eat and drink and even play friendly
games of soccer -- naively hoped that the war would be short-lived, and that
they were fraternizing with future friends.
It began when German soldiers lit candles on small
Christmas trees, and British, French, Belgian and German troops serenaded each
other on Christmas Eve. Soon they were gathering and burying the dead, in an
age-old custom of truces. But as the power of Christmas grew among them, they
broke bread, exchanged addresses and letters and expressed deep admiration for
one another. When angry superiors ordered them to recommence the shooting, many
men aimed harmlessly high overhead.
Sometimes the greatest beauty emerges from deep tragedy.
Surely the forgotten Christmas Truce was one of history's most beautiful
moments, made all the more beautiful in light of the carnage that followed it.
Stanley Weintraub's moving re-creation demonstrates that peace can be more
fragile than war, but also that ordinary men can bond with one another despite
all efforts of politicians and generals to the contrary. Amazon Book Description.
The actions of the U.S. Government
following the events of 11 September 2001 continue to lead the headlines.
The Taliban in Afghanistan is broke. Al-Qaida on the other hand has lost a
lot of ground but is still a very great threat to international
security. In our last newsletter we introduced our Terrorism
Reading List. This month we have decided to reflect on the events of September
11th with the following recommendation:
Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001
written by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
During our nation's most trying times, it has been LIFE
that has provided the images that help us understand, remember, and in the
process, renew. Now the editors of LIFE have assembled a moving, brilliantly
illustrated account of tragedy and triumph. This is about firemen going in
amidst the rubble, but it is also about a Frenchman in Paris holding up a sign
that says, "We are all Americans." This is about our leaders taking
charge, but it is also about schoolchildren in Iowa hanging an American flag on
a tree in their backyard. Beginning with the history of lower Manhattan, the
book explains what happened on September 11, profiles many of the heroes,
victims and rescuers (fireman, police, doctors, and rescue dogs among them), and
paints an inspiring portrait if a nation and world coming together in sadness,
pride and resolve. The book is more than photographs. Explanatory text runs
throughout, and the book also includes a selection of original essays about
America and September 11, written by such notables as Maya Angelou, Thomas
Keneally (Schindler's List), David McCullough, Melissa Fay Greene (The Temple
Bombing), Andrei Codrescu, Gordon Parks, Doug Stanton (In Harm's Way), Bob
Greene (Duty), James Bradley (Flags of Our Fathers), and others.
Ten percent of the cover price of this book will be
donated to the September 11th Fund of the New York Community Trust and the
United Way of New York City. The purpose of the fund is to help address the
immediate and longer-term needs of victims, their families, and communities
affected by the events of September 11, 2001. Amazon Book Description.
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