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Journey's End (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Robert Cedric Sherriff
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

26 Oct 2000 Penguin Modern Classics

Hailed by George Bernard Shaw as 'useful [corrective] to the romantic conception of war', R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End is an unflinching vision of life in the trenches towards the end of the First World War, published in Penguin Classics.

Set in the First World War, Journey's End concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed. Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic.

R.C. Sherriff (1896-1975) joined the army shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, serving as a captain in the East Surrey regiment. After the war, an interest in amateur theatricals led him to try his hand at writing. Following rejection by many theatre managements, Journey's End was given a single performance by the Incorporated Stage Society, in which Lawrence Olivier took the lead role. The play's enormous success enabled Sherriff to become a full-time writer, with plays such as Badger's Green (1930), St Helena (1935), and The Long Sunset (1955); though he is also remembered as a screenplay writer, for films such as The Invisible Man (1933), Goodbye Mr Chips (1933) and The Dam Busters (1955).

If you enjoyed Journey's End, you might like Robert Graves's Goodbye to All That, available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'Its unrelenting tension, and its regard for human decency in a vast world of human waste, are impressive and, even now, moving'

Clive Barnes


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Journey's End (Penguin Modern Classics) + Journey's End (York Notes) + Regeneration (Regeneration Trilogy)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183268
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,730 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The evening of a March day. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A touching play that portrays the reality of WWI 27 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I first read this play when I was studying for an English GCSE. To be honest, I didn't really expect much of it, as I don't always enjoy the books we are told to read. However, from the moment I opened it, I knew this was something special. Sherriff's realistic portrayal of the WWI trenches and the relationships between the men really do stay with you forever. I never wanted to put it down This is a gem of a book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a play not a novel 26 July 2011
By B. Gray
Format:Paperback
Many of the more luke-warm reviewers of this powerful play clearly haven't been to see a good production. I don't think it's about boredom, rather about how men cope, without going mad, with the impossible horror of having seen thousands of their comrades die hideously in battle often in prolonged agony, of knowing that they themselves are likely to die soon, of hearing constant battle noise or the single cracks of sniper fire when it's quieter. Each of the characters deal with this in a different but equally convincing way. Go and see the superb production now on in London, or any production you can, re-read the play and I think you'll have a different take on what you've read. It is after all designed to be seen and heard, not read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 13 July 2010
By Bex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this whilst doing my English Literature A level and I was pleasently surprised! I really got into it easily and become engrossed in all the characters, I know this book deserves a much more detailed and in depth review about all the issues that it covers, but I already did that in my essay!

Happy reading :)
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
'Journey's End' opens in the bleak environment of the Western Front as a new arrival James Raleigh comes to join a group of soldiers in the trench system. The 'journey' on which the soldiers embark upon is contains two human attributes, the first being emotional attachment, the second being the power of perceiverance.

Sherriff does not need to go into the graphic details of what happens when the men 'go over the top', however he builds up a number of passionate friendships that both move and endear the reader. The first of these relationships is between Commander Stanhope and Officer Osborne who is 'the only man who could understand me' as described by the company commander at the moment of Osborne's demise. Their relationship is one of two brothers as they look after each other on the Front line - 'what would I ever do without you old chap' exclaims Stanhope, 'I do not know' responds Osborne - inferring the loving relationship the two characters share. At the moment of Osborne's death I was shocked at the anger that welled up inside Stanhope as he responded to the comments from the survivors of the daylight raid on 'the Boche'. He shouts at Hibbert - 'What did you say!...Get out of my sight!' in anger at losing his 'most trusted friend' and the sense of loss is only solidified by the explosion of emotion that feels his dialogue whilst conversing with Raleigh (the soul commanding survivor of the raid).

The audience can fully understand the sense of anger that is perpetuated by Stanhope at the loss of his comrade. The loss moves the reader as the emotional outpouring fills six pages of intense dialogue between the commanding officer and the other soldiers.

The opposite reaction can be found at the climax of the performance.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational! 2 July 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the most moving play I have ever read.This play possesses all the dramatic components it needs in order to make it a success: comedy, tragedy, conflict and a flawed hero. This play is the only play I have ever read that has brought a tear to my eye.
As a result of the play's brilliance I am now starring and co-directing a performance of it at my school!
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive and moving play. 17 Nov 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This drama about trench life in the first world war is a very moving piece. The characters- Captain Stanhope, who has changed dramatically since he came to the front, Raleigh, the young officer and schoolfriend of Stanhope who hero-worships him, the avuncular teacher Osborne, the comic cook Mason, and the other characters are portrayed sensitively and accurately. The play brings out all the tragedy of war, as you would expect, but is unsentimental and even brings out the humour of the situation at times. In short, well worth reading- especially around November 11th.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very British 9 Oct 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the film 'Withnail and I,' & recently noticed the 'I' character reading this play during a scene in the movie - presumably it's the play in which he ultimately wins a part. This prompted me to order a copy from Amazon, and guess what? It's not bad!

It's a thoroughly British portrayal of life in a WW1 trench. It's not perfect - there is more than a hint of stereotypical caricature in Sherriff's depiction of various working class/public school characters - and it seems rather sanitised compared to Remarque's superb description of trench warfare in 'All Quiet On The Western Front,' but you are drawn in by it all, and I'm sure the script would gain a lot & be very affecting in performance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the journey continues 1 Mar 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The message of this play, a bold piece of drama for the time in which it was written, is still relevant and powerful today. The plot is very easy to follow, and it is the themes and ideas that draw the reader in, such as the moral dilemma of commanders who know that the war is unjustified and that their own leaders are stupid and incompetent, yet feel duty or honour bound to follow the rules of war. Does any of this sound familiar?
There is also a grim fascination in examining the strategies each man adopts in order to cope with the insane hell in which he finds himself. It is a real drama about real people, and it leaves the audience/readers with uncomfortable questions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Journey's end
I Paid for this book on my kindle but I did not get the complete book please can you send me a complete book

Janis Farmer
Published 28 days ago by Mrs. Janis Farmer
1.0 out of 5 stars lol
I was so sad and boring I couldn't stand it even a baby's book would have been better for me
Published 1 month ago by samsonio
4.0 out of 5 stars School Book
This was purchased as a school book as my son (12) was studying this. He enjoyed the quality of the writing.
Published 1 month ago by Ceejay
5.0 out of 5 stars Journeys End
This version of the play - that is, the way in which the text is presented - is ideal for GCSE students.
Published 2 months ago by Bernard Jasper
5.0 out of 5 stars Blackadder original
This is the blueprint for the Blackadder series, an a realistic anti-war play. From my experience of recent conflicts, I found some of the themes seem as fresh today as then.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. M. Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars 'JOURNEY'S END' - A 'MUST' FOR 2014 .......
I have read and re-read this wonderful book several times. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War and doubtless there will be many who will claim that it was not a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by ROBERT .
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey's End . . . the horror for so many
Chilling ! Futility of war and the blind call to duty so evident . Sheriff has captured the ironies of war and its social divisions well. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mimi23
5.0 out of 5 stars JOURNEY'S END
The play can be considered an iconic statement on aspects of WWI. It is interesting that even now the play is still being performed. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Melvyn Butcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey's End - R C Sherriff
This short play set in the trenches during the first world war was so popular when it went on stage in the 1920s it became an overnight sensation. Read more
Published 4 months ago by H O'Reilley
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey's End by R C Sherriff
Wonderful play by R C Sherriff set during the First World War. This is the story of a group of British officers on the front line. Read more
Published 4 months ago by tobykin
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