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Private Peaceful [Hardcover]

Michael Morpurgo
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (390 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
Price: 8.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

6 Oct 2003

Heroism or cowardice? A stunning story of the First World War from a master storyteller.

Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; First Edition 1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2 edition (6 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007150067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007150069
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (390 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 623,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Multi-award winning author, Michael Morpurgo, is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award for his recent novel, Private Peaceful, which has also had two successful runs as a play devised by Bristol Old Vic. From 2003 to 2005 he was the Children's Laureate, a role which took him all over the UK to promote literacy and reading, and in 2005 he was named the Booksellers Association Author of the Year.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Longer novels from Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo are always a particular treat, and Private Peaceful is no exception. Tragic, surprising and engaging in equal measures, Morpurgo's novel charts both the childhood of young Thomas Peaceful in the early years of the 20th century, and his eventual underage enlistment in the British army to help fight the First World War.

It is, above all, a poignant story of war and about all of its many life-changing effects on those involved--also the brutality of the commanding regimes and the relentless squalor of trench warfare. It's not for the squeamish--Morpurgo tells it like it was and his honest insight is on every page for all to appreciate.

"Tommo" Peaceful is recalling his childhood from those terrible battlefields. He remembers his big brother Charlie taking him to his first day of school, the death of his father, his mum working hard to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table. He remembers his brother Joe, who some called simple, but who to Tommo was very special. He also recalls the only girl in his life, Molly, and how Charlie somehow took her away from him. But as the World turned to War, he had to grow up fast. Together Charlie and Tommo enlist and are sent to France, almost immediately, to what could only be described as pure hell on Earth. Bullets, bombs, death. Shells, noise, dirt. Disease, rats, stench. Charlie and Tommo fight for their lives and to stay together--facing certain death in the face every time they try to advance the British lines.

Morpurgo rattles through his narrative at some speed, gracefully capturing both the horror of war and the ecstasy of life. The ending is shocking and memorable. This is difficult, emotionally draining but highly recommended reading. (Recommended for ages 10 and over.) --John McLay


"!full of warmth as well as grief, conveying vividly how precious it is to be alive!" Sunday Times "Deserved to last as an insight into the First World War in the same way as, say, The Silver Sword or Goodnight Mr Tom." Telegraph "A poignant, elegiac novel." Daily Mail --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting stuff 5 July 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
A friend and I just listened to these CDs on a car journey to York and I must say that this is one of the best audio books I have ever heard. We were not aware of Michael Morpurgo's being a children's author beforehand and bought it only because of the First World War theme. This is not a purely children's book at all, and I would recommend it to anyone.
Jamie Glover's narration is truly incredible. He captures the mood of the book perfectly and his characters come fully to life with his excellent vocal acting. Listen to this book (or, I'm sure, read it) and you will feel like Ma, Tommo, Charlie, Big Joe and Molly (and of course Bertha) are part of your family and you'll be drawn into their long-gone and simpler world. If you have a strong relationship with an older brother, it will touch you even more.
I found myself longing for the book never to stop and I was genuinely moved to tears by the unexpected conclusion. This is not so much a book about the First World War as a book about people, and very real and believable people at that.
Do yourself a favour and buy this book. Then do your friends an equal favour and have them read/listen to it too. It really is one not to miss.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Book 2 Mar 2006
By A Customer
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.It was an emotional and moving story about Tommo Peaceful as a young soldier in the first world war looking back on his life. He always trusted his older brother Charlie who was a best friend to him.The loyalty between them didn't waiver all through the book. Then at school a girl called Molly makes friends with him and Charlie. Big Joe their older brother, who is always very happy and loves everyone, loves Molly too. The things they get up to are amazing. Micheal Morpurgo makes you feel in the book from the first word to the last. I couldn't put it down.
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103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and different 12 Nov 2003
Obviously now Mr Morpurgo knows what he's doing, and so it's no surprise that this is a well written book. However I was surprised that he'd produced such a good First World War novel. He hasn't fallen into any of the usual traps - instead he shows us a group of normal people. The Germans aren't demons, the British aren't saints, and although the war is ever-present, much of the narrative concerns events that happened years before it.
Most of the story is told in one night by Private Tommo Peaceful, who has joined up with his brother Charlie. For much of it Tommo reflects on their childhood, especially their time with their brother Big Joe, who has a learning disability, and their friend Molly. The story takes us up to the night that Tommo's telling the story on, the before something terrible happens - which Tommo has been referring to and dreading throughout the story, although he doesn't tell us until near the end what it is.
This is an excellent book. The story is poignant without needless sentimentality and although Morpurgo is put into the 8-12 category, a lot of adults would enjoy it, while some children in that age range would find it too disturbing. It isn't a long book - it doesn't need to be. I'd recommend it without question.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling and moving 19 Oct 2008
I read this book one Saturday when I was in bed with 'flu. I was totally gripped by the compelling story and at the end I wailed so loudly that my husband came running in from the bathroom where he had been shaving to see if I was actually dying. I managed to reassure him through sobs that I wasn't actually dying, but that my book was very sad! Once I was better I did some research on the internet and saw that that kind of thing really did happen. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect priviate peaceful 26 Mar 2006
Priviate peaceful is one of thoes books you cannot put down you just want to read more. It's athrilling tale of how Tommo and his big brother Charlie have a simple life playing with there friend Molly. Just having fun. Until the war hits Nd Charlie and Tommo fight for there lives in the war of the Century. Still keepingin touch with their loved ones and still beind traumertised and fighting for days on end. Life will never be the same again. You need a strong stomach to read this book but it is truly fabuloes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for everyone 13 Dec 2007
By love reading TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Although this is described as an adult book, I think it should be compulsary reading on the curriculum for English and History. This is such a simple , beautiful but utterly powerful novel. The writing is superb and so easy to read. Admittedly, for kids, the first half might be slightly slow but it is necessary to bring the characters to life for the sake of the climax. I just loved this book and Michael Morpurgo does justice to the brave young men who were victims of WW1.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my favourite book! 11 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Private Peaceful has to be my favourite book ever. Its about two brothers growing up in World War 1 and eventually fighting in it. As Tommo looks back on his & Charlie's lives the inevitable grows ever closer...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for All 17 May 2009
I have been a fan of Michael Murpurgo for some time now and have enjoyed every book of his that I've read so far, but Private Peaceful takes his writing to another level. It's a long time since I've been moved so much by a story, this one left me with the same feeling as the end of 'The Boy In Striped Pyjamas'. I smiled and I cried and I wont forget this for a very long time - if ever.

The story begins with Private Tommo Peaceful reflecting life from the battlefields of the First World War. He thinks back to his childhood fondly - memories of his late father, his loving mother, his much respected older brother Charlie, his slow but gentle brother Big Joe and not least his childhood love - Molly. His memories are those of innocence and friendship, hard-luck and love.

As his story progresses, Tommo and Charlie join up to fight in the Great War - Tommo is only 15. They fight side by side and look after each other all the way. Each chapter is full of Tommo's memories, but each chapter also brings the reader closer to the present time - and to the life-changing moment that leaves you breathless.

The ending of the story is stark, brutal, heart-rending and tragic. The tenderness of the writing and the loss felt by the reader is stunning.

Although a book that is aimed at children and young adults - I would recommend that every adult read this - it's not a long story, but the message of the almost forgotten heroes of the First World War is vitally important - especially as the young men of our country are still giving their lives on a daily basis.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb and very moving
“Private Peaceful” is a moving tale about two brothers growing up in rural Devon who join the army to fight in the First World War and this production vividly and movingly realises... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Ms. R. L. A. Amelan
5.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to MM collection
Enjoyed by my daughter.
Published 5 days ago by Alison M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to WW1 for younger listeners, quite short
Private Peaceful is a story of two brothers in the First World War. It is quite a standard WW1 tale, but written for children/young adults, and would be a great introduction to the... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Max
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Couldn't put it down brilliant
Published 5 days ago by Graham Sergeant
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful WW1 children's book dramatised to good effect
This is a great companion for lovers of the book and an excellent introduction for newcomers. It is a short novel and the radio adaption is only 90 minutes long but this WW1 tale... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Arkgirl
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple and moving story
This is the finest book I have read for a long time and I will remember it - and "them". It is simply told, an account of a very young WW1 soldier's life from his childhood village... Read more
Published 10 days ago by K. Cutmore
4.0 out of 5 stars The Child Maketh the Soldier
Michael Morpurgo’s take on a World War One Story employs his great gift for writing about childhood and teenage years to offer a different perspective on a British soldier’s path... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Eugene Onegin
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful but so sad
Beautifully written but so sad for children to read. I would find it difficult to share this book with a young person because of the hardship and tragedy of life it depicts at the... Read more
Published 12 days ago by elleno
5.0 out of 5 stars sad and sweet
A lovely war story by Michael Murpurgo, sad and sweet.
Comes on 2 CD and has a running time of 1hour 30 minutes
Beautifully read. Read more
Published 14 days ago by young man
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought it was
I had the BBC Radio Dramatisation of this book and I cannot see anywhere in the publicity material that it is advertised as a story for young people aged 10+. Read more
Published 14 days ago by J. N. Bullock
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