Friday, January 21, 2011

Truce by Jim Murphy

Can you imagine exchanging gifts and singing Christmas carols with men who had killed your friends and been trying to kill you for months? This was the case for many British and German soldiers fighting each other along the Western Front during WWI. Beginning with a succinct first chapter that chronicles the events, tensions, and miscommunication that led to WWI, Jim Murphy’s Truce then moves on to describe life in the trenches, focusing on how the shared experience and short distance between trenches nurtured friendly exchanges between enemies. This shared camaraderie led to the Christmas day truce in which British and German soldiers climbed out of their trenches into “No Man’s Land” to celebrate the holiday, often against the orders of their commanding officers. Written for a middle school audience, containing clear maps and fascinating photographs, this book would be an excellent resource for a social studies unit on the causes of WWI, trench warfare, the Western Front, and peace studies. Try pairing this book with The Enemy by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch.

Murphy, Jim. Truce. New York: Scholastic Press, 2009.

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