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Private Peaceful [Paperback]

Michael Morpurgo
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
RRP: 6.99
Price: 5.03 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

2 Aug 2004

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.

Both a love story and a deeply moving account of the horrors of the First World War, this book will reach everyone from 9 to 90.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (2 Aug 2004)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0007791127
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007150076
  • ASIN: 0007150075
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (348 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 886 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


His [Tommo’s] journey from agricultural labourer to cannon fodder is movingly told…Michael Morpurgo is expert at getting through to his readers. He writes here about events that should never be forgotten nor forgiven, and does so most effectively.

…full of warmth as well as grief, conveying vividly how precious it is to be alive…
Sunday Times

The best novel he’s written since The Butterfly Lion.

Deserved to last as an insight into the First World War in the same way as, say, The Silver Sword or Goodnight Mr Tom.

A poignant, elegiac novel.
Daily Mail

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 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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18 of 18 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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102 of 106 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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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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5 of 5 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 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 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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Tonight I Want To Feel Alive' 30 April 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"I happened to interview three farm boy veterans, then well into their eighties, when I was researching my book War Horse. They told me something of what they had lived through. There was no poetry in their stories, only horror and regret and great sadness for the loss of good friends. So I came to write Private Peaceful." - Michael Morpurgo took something away with him after those interviews, and he gifts that to you, the reader.

I admit, even now, as an adult, I am enthralled by many of Michael Morpurgos works. He writes with such skill that anyone, young or old, can find themselves caught up in the world he creates for them. Even my dad read it, on my recommendation, and he found it stunning too.

In this particular tale, Private Thomas Peaceful has endured much. And, through every hardship, his brother Charlie has been there to help him through.

The story is written in a first-person narrative and this helps the reader to be there alongside him as he sits his vigil. The waiting, is interspersed with his memories of his times as a child, through to present day, and always with Charlie there beside him.

It is one of those stories that you cannot put down. You want to just read it from start to finish in a single sitting, because it grips you. It is funny, it is sad, it is touching, filled with lines of thought that makes your heart ache.

"They've gone now, and I'm alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won't waste a single moment of it. I shan't sleep it away. I won't dream it away either. I mustn't, because every moment of it will be far too precious."

As the hours, minutes, and seconds, fall through the inevitable hourglass of time, you know the waiting is almost over - his night time vigil is going to end.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very emotional
Brilliant the way this is written, giving an insight to the traumas of WW1
Very emotional, I cried at the end
Published 4 days ago by Mel Montgomery
5.0 out of 5 stars Private Peaceful
Bought for my granddaughters to read, but will be sure to read it myself before they do. Hope it is as good as War Horse.
Published 7 days ago by RONICA DAWES
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent thought provoking work
Having already seen the film, the book added much more detail with regards to the emotions/trauma suffered by both the Peaceful Brothers & their family. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Fran Parsons
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely read
recommend for any age - easy to read but very emotional especially apt with the anniversary coming up this year
Published 9 days ago by Mrs. Clare Leaper
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written for all age groups.
Wonderful, moving, sad.
A great author! Well worth reading.
A great way for youngsters to learn about WW1.
Great read.
Published 11 days ago by Kerry D
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching
This is a touching, thought provoking book. Was recommended by a teacher friend & am very glad I took her advice.
Published 16 days ago by Mrs S L Reeves
5.0 out of 5 stars Private Peaceful
Great read, I found it hard to put the book down. I love the honesty of the characters a book for all ages
Published 19 days ago by jax
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
It was just what I needed. Site was efficient and simple to acquire the product. It arrived safely and promptly, with regular emails detailing it's whereabouts.
Published 21 days ago by Me
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent but sad
This is an excellent book but it is very sad and it's got a good story line but sad .
Published 28 days ago by M. Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book read in ages.
A real page turner. Real feeling for the characters and their plight. Very well written and tugs at your heartstrings.
Published 1 month ago by David Coad
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