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Truce

by Jim Murphy

     

In the opening pages of Truce, Jim Murphy quotes Winston Churchill: "What would happen, I wonder, if the armies suddenly and simultaneously went on strike...." And on Christmas in 1914, in the midst of the "Great War," World War I, the armies did exactly that. They called their own truce. They didnít wait for order from above or confirmation from officers, they simply crawled out of the mud and crossed the "no man's land" to share Christmas with other men far from home. This amazing and touching book both shares the miracle of that Christmas truce and helps the reader understand World War I, a truly confusing war even with the clarity of hindsight. It's clear from the writing that this amazing event, this decision to be men more than soldiers and choose peace, touched the writer deeply and he clearly marvels that it ever happened.

The author has considerable experience with well researched nonfiction and historical novels for young people, with two Newbery Honor books. Despite being a picture book format, this is clearly a book for older elementary students and above—the prose is direct and clear but the concepts and history are complex. It doesn't try to sugarcoat war as it reflects on the horrifying losses incurred and the futility of combining modern weapons with antiquated battle action. This impressive little book deserves a place in every elementary and middle school library collection, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it turn up on some award lists in the near future. It's mesmerizing.

The Book

Scholastic Press
October 1, 2009
Hardcover
0545130492 / 978-0545130493
Tweener Nonfiction / Military / WWI / Friendship
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Excerpt
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
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