Christmas Eve, 1914

4.5 out of 5 stars (2,243 ratings)

Regular price: $5.00

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About This Audible Original

"Gentlemen, maybe war takes a holiday today."

This mesmerizing audio drama takes you to the dismal trenches of World War I. It is here, under the constant threat of exploding shells and artillery, that British and German soldiers live in deplorable conditions. Braving the merciless cold and crushing exhaustion and hunger, the men conduct patrols and fight, often to the death, to advance mere inches in the frozen No Man’s Land that lies between them.

But on Christmas Eve, the Western Front gives way to a miracle of grace, as soldiers from both sides emerge from their trenches to greet each other, share their meager rations, and bury the dead for an unofficial and temporary truce. Drawing upon the unforgettable true story of history’s most transcendent ceasefire, this Audible Original, a finalist for the 2016 Audie Award for Best Audio Drama, commemorates an astonishing moment of peace—and celebration of man’s capacity for kindness—in the midst of total war. A full cast performance of a heart-wrenching script written by Emmy Award-winner Charles Olivier and produced by Dawn Prestwich (The Killing), Christmas Eve, 1914 is the perfect reminder of how holiday hope can be found in the unlikeliest of places. At the story’s end, listeners will also enjoy a performance of the classic carol, "Il Est Ne" by Tom Tom Club.

The ensemble cast includes Damon Herriman, Cameron Daddo, Xander Berkeley, James Scott, Lance Guest, Nate Jones, Cody Fern, John Beck, Gabe Greenspan, and Heiko Obermoeller.

©2014 Audible Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Go Behind the Scenes of Christmas Eve, 1914

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"The cast’s excellent naturalistic acting and superb dialogue bring out the human side of a conflict in which the enemy lay entrenched only a few hundred yards away. Spot-on sound effects and motion-picture-style original music create sonic depth and atmosphere. Riveting, touching, and timeless, this production is destined to become a family favorite at Christmas for years to come."

AudioFile
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Our favorite moments from Christmas Eve, 1914

"All the trenches had a name..."
The arrival of a new officer
"There was a hope in the trenches..."
"The letter was crumpled."

  • Christmas Eve, 1914
  • "All the trenches had a name..."
  • Christmas Eve, 1914
  • The arrival of a new officer
  • Christmas Eve, 1914
  • "There was a hope in the trenches..."
  • Christmas Eve, 1914
  • "The letter was crumpled."

About the Author

Charles Olivier is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writer and journalist whose documentary credits include Kevorkian, Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals, and Brooklyn Dodgers: the Ghosts of Flatbush. Of his work on Christmas Eve, 1914, Olivier says, "You wouldn’t think that a story from World War I would be either joyous or tender. And yet, it was here that one of the most remarkable moments in human history occurred. It’s one of those events that defy a writer’s imagination…We created audio cinema with our story—this is a movie for your imagination."

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bonnie
  • Bellmore, NY, United States
  • 12-22-14

I was just reading about this in my news paper

What made the experience of listening to Christmas Eve, 1914 the most enjoyable?

When I turned on to Audible and saw this offering I was thrilled. Since just reading about "Flanders Fields" in my Sunday newspaper, it was just a wonderful gift to your loyal customers for this time of year.

What other book might you compare Christmas Eve, 1914 to and why?

What happened that Christmas of 1914 one hundred years ago can not be compared to anything that I know of. Truth is often stranger than fiction.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

This was done beautifully with a full cast. I usually don't like sound effects in my audio books but it was done with style and class. There were many times I laughed out loud at the British dry humor. I also felt emotional about the deaths from war.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was easy enough to do that is was just over an hour long. I didn't know where that hour went it had me so engrossed listening to the story.

Any additional comments?

I love that the story is coming from one of the officers writing to a mother of one of his comrades who died and served with him ......the letter is written ten years after, to the mother. I can't imagine a mother not knowing about her son because no one bothered to contact her that he had died in the service of his country. Yes this is fictionalized about that time but it none the less shows that we are all human, Thank you Audibe for this wonderful gift.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Spirit of Christmas

Where does Christmas Eve, 1914 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Christmas Eve is a wonderful story of life in the trenches during WW I. Outstanding description of the harsh conditions and the utter fear of the men. As well as the levity and bantering amongst the officers jockeying for command and to allay their own fear. The interaction with the German soldiers proves we are all human beings. Although maybe not that civil.

Which scene was your favorite?

The new Lieutenant singing Silent Night and the Germans responding by singing back.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Teared up at the prospect the enemies on the battlefield could find common ground and become conversant for at least 24 hours.

Any additional comments?

Hard to believe the war continued for another 3 years.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Beautifully "illustrated"

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this for anyone who is interested in the personal aspects of historical events, especially war.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The necessity of each character is well-balanced, which makes it difficult to choose. I think the young boy who brought it all together with his song, is the one that comes to mind first.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was touched most at the end when the narration slipped into the end of a letter written to the mother of the boy whose voice had such a positive influence in such a negative venue.

Any additional comments?

Beautifully written and executed. This may become our annual Christmas "listening."

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • Hoover, AL, United States
  • 01-05-15

WWI Christmas

Would you listen to Christmas Eve, 1914 again? Why?

Next Christmas for sure. Audible studios did a masterful job telling the story.
Since is was a drama it was more like a movie in my head.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The young lieutenant who goes on his first mission and sings Silent Night

Which scene was your favorite?

The singing in the book

Any additional comments?

Great Audible Drama that I thoroughly enjoyed.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 12-25-14

"maybe war takes a holiday today"

This isn't too sentimental (nor too gruesome) and convincingly recreates the possible development of one possible truce situation in the 1914 trenches. It doesn't directly address any BIG questions, other than the very powerful one posed by the truces themselves. I liked that it highlighted the conditions in the trenches, again without being too gruesome for family listening. I'm so happy to see commemoration of the centenary of the Truce since so many battles are so well remembered.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating Story

This was a great audio drama about the Christmas Truce in 1914 I have always been fascinated by this story and this audio drama was very well done! Highly recommend!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Teresa
  • NAMPA, ID, United States
  • 12-30-14

Christmas Truce.

Thanks Audible for the freebie. I passed this book forward for my father to listen to since he is a huge fan of war stories. Even after all the war stories my father put me through, this is still a new one for me. A very good dramatized production of Christmas Eve, 1914.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant Retelling of the Famous WWI Xmas Truce

What made the experience of listening to Christmas Eve, 1914 the most enjoyable?

Hearing this version of the famous Christmas truce was an inspiration, taking listeners onto the battlefield with all the horrors of the war and the sounds of the war all around. I became so immersed in the story that I was in tears.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Christmas Eve, 1914?

The young boy's singing was so remarkable that it seemed no wonder the German troops took notice.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

None of the voices were familiar, but all the performances were excellent and I am looking forward to more stories like this one

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Awesome!!!

If you could sum up Christmas Eve, 1914 in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, breath taking, sit on the edge of your seat

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

they was all interesting

Any additional comments?

I am a avid reader and this is the first audible book that I have listened too but it will not be my last. Loved using audible

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Moving story and performance: hope in midst of war

What did you love best about Christmas Eve, 1914?

The story, language, dialect, performances and sound really evoked the confusion, fear, comradery, despair, strength, and bravery of the men and the time in the midst of the horror of the war. And then the hope and the humanity. The sharing of pain across lines, the release of joy and laughter -- such an amazing moment during the Christmas of 1914.

Which scene was your favorite?

So difficult to say. The tension of the machine gun being prepared combined with the uncertainty of what the Germans were doing as they came with lanterns? The burying of Beecher? The reading of his letter? So many choices.

If you could take any character from Christmas Eve, 1914 out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Zac. He remained grounded, thoughtful and strong in the midst of a dehumanizing time.

Any additional comments?

The performance of the character Swinburn was amazing -- such a complicated personality. And I really enjoyed the character Zac and that performance as well. Charles Olivier captured elements of the war of which I'd been unaware, and I really enjoyed the language. Well done!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 01-06-18

Perfect to listen to on a dark December evening


A lovely short dramatised story; though not sure why they added the supposedly ‘classic’ Christmas carol "Il Est Ne" at the end of the download. Never heard of it myself, just seemed a bit odd. It would have been more fitting to have ended with “Silent Night”.

Audible should promote this every Christmas, either by including it as a ‘Daily Deal’ or within the monthly deals ‘less than £5’. It’s perfect to listen to on a dark December evening.

Add it to your ‘Wish list’ and wait until Audible have one of their 40% off sales. As it is too short to spend a credit on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Highlight
  • 06-29-15

God Bless All Who Gave Their Lives & Their Limbs

A thoughtful tribute to all the men and women who have fought for their Country and their loved ones. To those living and those who's spirit shine on. Thank You ❤️ This little drama says it all. God bless.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • adam
  • 03-04-15

Incredible

A very well written and narrated story while although partly fictional was incredibly moving.

Would happily pay for this so it being free feels like robbery but very glad it has been done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Big BoBo
  • 02-11-15

Amazing production

I expected an audio book but got a full production so well done. What a great surprise. Would love to hear more like that. Recommend to anyone to have a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • eilis
  • 02-04-15

Meaningful Story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This short story captures the feeling in the trenches and the pressures each person was under. Also demonstrates the loyalty to the country and the bravery.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kathleen Allen
  • 12-21-14

Beautiful Story

Very nice to listen to. Convincing narration. Wish all audios were as well done as this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mirzhan Irkegulov
  • 11-26-18

Sweet, important, but forgettable

The voice acting, accents, sound effects, music are all fantastic. This audio drama carries a vital message of peace and humanity. Despite all the good qualities I've found it to be somewhat directionless and pointless.

If the topic of World War I is important to you, or if you are in the mood for an hour long short story on a cold evening, you'll love it. Just don't expect fast paced action and suspense, because it is not about that.

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  • Lionheart
  • 07-14-18

First Class production

This moving and well performed production.moved me to tears Grace and joy in the midst of Hell on earth .

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Craig M. Hanson
  • 07-12-18

Extremely Moving

Brilliantly acted & well written. This is a beautiful story & moved me to tears. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicola
  • 11-29-17

very good if in hurry<br />

good short book when u need a quick break from longer books and very historical with war life for men at Xmas

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  • Perpetual student
  • 04-25-15

Great listen for rememberance or Anzac Day

Poignant story with real characters. Reminding us of the effects of war in human spirit. A great listen as we remember the centenary of WW1