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Monday, December 26, 2011

Historic Christmas Eve Story Goes From the Stage to the Bookshelf

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Every year, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Orchestra at Temple Square perform a free Christmas concert, which they present as their gift to the public. Enjoyed by the thousands who crowd into the Conference Center to view it, the show is also broadcast on PBS. The concert, which always receives rave reviews, has included performances by luminaries like David Archuleta, Natalie Cole, Jane Seymour, Angela Lansbury and Walter Cronkite. In 2009, historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David McCullough accepted an invitation to be part of that year's concert. With the choir and orchestra accompanying his words, McCullough told the story of a historic meeting between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt which took place on December 24, 1941. Using that event as a backdrop, he also talked about the stories behind two popular Christmas songs: "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

The next year, Shadow Mountain (an imprint of Deseret Book) published McCullough's words in a hardcover volume that includes vintage photographs, the texts of the speeches given by Churchill and Roosevelt, and a CD of McCullough's performance at the 2009 Christmas concert. While In the Dark Street Shineth by David McCullough makes a moving story, I actually liked the whole thing better as a vocal performance than as a book. I did, however, enjoy the historic photos and reading the leaders' speeches in their entirety. Churchill's, especially, was so poetic that I wondered why the book didn't use his words instead of McCullough's. Even though I found it a tad disappointing, I still enjoyed the history and the holiday spirit captured in this book.

As I said, though, the actual performance is better. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and watch this:

(Readalikes: Um, I can't really think of anything. Can you?)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: G

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of In the Dark Streets Shineth from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain/Deseret Book. Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for the mass comment, but this is just a friendly reminder that you only have until December 31st at 11:59PM to complete your list for the Bookmark Break Challenge 2011!!! Looking forward to the results!


    Comment anywhere on my blog if you have any questions ro want to update me that way.
    Email me at

    I will be around January 1st to get the final count on your list! So, AGAIN, Make sure it is updated by December 31St 11:59 PM.


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