In the Dark Streets Shineth

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I heard about this book when I was listening to the Christmas music station on my way to work out. I loved the book I recently read by David McCullough, and had been hoping to find some Christmas reading, so I was instantly intrigued by the commercial for this book. I thought it would probably have to wait until next year, but I received a lovely gift card just a few days later. (Thank you so so so much!!) This was one of the first books I added to my cart, and I was glad today when I had a few extra hours to relax and read it.

This book is about Christmas Eve in 1941, when Winston Churchill secretly travels to the United States to give a Christmas Eve address at the White House with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Tied in with this story are the short histories of two Christmas songs, "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "I'll Be Home For Christmas."

It turns out I didn't need the few hours of relaxation - reading the book only took me a couple of minutes. The story is very short, with many pages of photos. It was a beautiful story, but I was a little disappointed with how short it was - I wanted more! It only skimmed the surface of the talks that night and the histories of the songs. However, it was a beautiful story. The texts of Churchill's and Roosevelt's addresses are included in the book, and I got a little choked up reading them. I am very moved at the Christmas spirit these men showed at such a horrible time in both their countries. It was a good reminder to me, in my comfortable apartment with food filling the cupboards and clothes filling the closets, and my biggest worries consisting of whether I will get an A or a B in my chemistry class.

While this book is not what I expected, I think it will be a nice keepsake to have in my family around Christmas. A DVD is included in the inside cover showing the original television program narrated by David McCullough, with a performance of the songs by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The photos are beautiful as well (my favorite is one of a soldier and his wife kissing goodbye as he heads off to war).

I am not going to rate this book using my usual criteria, just because the format of the book doesn't really fit in with plot, character, etc. It is definitely a light read, better to be read as a bedtime story or around the tree with the family, but it is a good story. I just wish I knew more about the events surrounding it! Maybe I'll have to find another history book about Christmas during World War II.

Also: I read this book for the Holiday Reading Challenge. Just keeping track!


  1. I thumbed through this at the book store and was surprised at how little text there was. I'm a little surprised, because it seems that McCullough is usually great at giving you the right balance of details. It does look like a nice Christmas book though.

  2. This book sounds beautiful and I'm excited to look it up. I hope the end of finals goes well for you :)

  3. @Melody - yeah it turns out that it is the narration of a television program or something (by the way, if there are typos in that top line, sorry about that! My computer won't let me see what I am typing for some reason). The DVD is probably the best part honestly, because of the music.

    @A Mitton - it is definitely a good coffee table book. Thanks! I hope your finals went well also!

  4. This sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing. :-)


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