Next week, I'm doing one of my brown bag lunches, this one featuring holiday books. I picked up some nonfiction titles that would fit the theme, beginning with In the Dark Streets Shineth. The subtitle is A 1941 Christmas Eve Story. It's a story told by David McCullough, one he told on PBS at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2009 Christmas concert.
Less than a month after Pearl Harbor, during Christmas week, a visitor traveled secretly to Washington, D.C. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt hosted the Christmas Eve lighting of the National Christmas Tree, he welcomed and introduced his guest, Prime Minister Winston Churchill. McCullough's account includes the speeches the two leaders made, speeches about the need for light in a dark world. And, he also includes the stories of two Christmas songs. Churchill first heard "O Little Town of Bethlehem" on Christmas day when he went to church with Roosevelt. The other song is "I'll Be Home for Christmas", a song written in 1942, expressing the longing for home.
In the Dark Streets Shineth is a tiny book filled with history. The two speeches are included, the history of the songs, and pictures from the war years. The pictures reflect the Christmases of those years, just as the book reflects the spirit.
The book is now a few years old, and not easily available. But, you can always get a copy from a library. The book includes the dvd of the program itself. Honestly? I'm always sappy when it comes to those kind of shows based on actual history. David McCullough brings Christmas 1941, and the war years, to life.
In the Dark Streets Shineth: A 1941 Christmas Eve Story as told by David McCullough. Shadow Mountain. 2010. ISBN 9781606418314 (hardcover)
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book