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To Serve Them All My Days [Paperback]

Ronald Frederick Delderfield
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Aug 1995 Coronet Books
Young David Powlett-Jones, a Welsh miner's son, is invalided home from France when he suffers severe shell shock on the Western Front. At a remote English public school in Devon the debilitated veteran, himself barely out of his teens, decides temporarily to try his hand at teaching while striving to awaken from the nightmare of World War I -- the national catastrophe that sweeps England out of the comfortable certainties of the Victorian Age into the moral perplexities and harsh economic realities of more modern times.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Coronet; New Ed edition (3 Aug 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340258209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340258200
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 520,471 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A genuinely warm, comforting novel" (Susan Hicks, Historical Novels Review)

Book Description

The classic story of an English public school between the wars and an inspirational teacher, repackaged as a Hodder Great Read. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story 8 Aug 2009
This is a story that grips and entertains you from start to finish. It is also the type of novel that is rarely written today which is a great shame as there is much to be said about good old fashioned story telling. Having enjoyed the novel so much I dipped into some others by the same author but found they did not match the 'charisma' of this novel. There is something innately charming, poignant and stirring about it that is rarely found in many other novels. It has a real emotional impact as it takes you through the highs and lows of one man's life; and you don't stop 'plugging' for him at any point in the story. A great read.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book 3 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having recently watched the tv adaption I decided to read the book to see how it compared and was very favourably surprised. I have been unable to put it down since starting it and I disagree with the reviewer who said it's a long book - I'm just coming up to the end of the book and don't think it's long enough!! I can't recommend RF Delderfield's books enough. He is a master at creating great, sweeping sagas which totally engulf the reader. If it's got his name on the cover it's definitely worth a look!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great read 21 April 2001
By A Customer
Delderfield offers us one of the best stories about life between the wars. David Powlett Jones, miners son and scholarship boy, is invalided out of the trenches and sent to convalesce as a teacher at a minor public school. From this fairly mundane start we are then catapulted into a journey of discovery. The many and diverse characters are brought to life superbly and we follow P-J's successes and failures almost as active particpants than mere observers. This is a story which, although dated, does much to capture an England where hope and good were ideals to be admired. A terrific read and a deserved masterpiece. Don't lend this to a friend, you may not see it back!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 3 Aug 2007
I saw this as a boy on TV, but it's even better in the written form.

The book is long but so is a life and this evocation of the career of a committed schoolteacher with all its trials, triumphs and tragedies is wonderfully depicted by Delderfield.

There are lots of books about school from the point of view of its pupils but, so far as books about being a teacher are concerned, TSTAMD is still 'the daddy'.

Buy it now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Favourite 22 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
When I was still at school I saw some of the tv adaptation of this, and thus got the book from the library. Since then I have read this many times, and when it came to buying a new edition to replace an old battered one I was pleasantly surprised to see it was now available on kindle.

The story itself in one aspect looks simple, we follow the life of David Powlett-Jones from when he is invalided out of the army. David is invalided in the First World War, and it is decided that he will take up a teaching post, thus he is sent to a public school in Devon. From there we are taken on a journey through David's life (he is twenty two when the book starts). We are shown his ambitions and how his life progresses, through all the highs and lows. That in itself wouldn't make this book great, but also we are taken into the life of the times, with the thoughts of war, in between the wars, aspirations of the pupils and other teachers at the school, as well as the politics of the time. David comes from a Welsh family of miners and so there is quite a bit about politics and the Labour movement here.

All in all this is a great book to read that you can really get caught up in, making it probably Delderfield's most loved novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This tells the story of a Welsh coalminer's son, David Powelett-Jones, from his discharge from Army in 1917 due to his injuries to the start of the Second World War.
David is a shattered by his experiences in the war and during his convalesence in Hospital, he is encourageds to take a position as a schoolmaster at Bamfylde, a ficticious North Devon Boardiong school, as a way of getting back a purpose in life.
In fact, Bamfylde is remarkably similar to the real West Buckland school where the author spent several years of his childhood....
The England he describes is both familar and foreign and it is interesting in its own right just to see how different things once were.
The book is a series of stories of events as David's life progresses from Firebrand to Headmaster, written with a good understanding of people, great characterisation and an eye for the telling detail.
A nice read. I hope you enjoy it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart Warming and Soul Satisfying 4 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In a similar vein to other reviewers, I decided to get this book after enjoying the recent radio play adaption on the BBC's Radio 4Xtra. The motivation to listen to this play, in itself was prompted by fond memories of the TV series when I was a kid.

Well at the risk of repeating of what other people have said: if you liked the TV and Radio series, get this book - you'll love it. Yes it's a long book, but it doesn't seem so as it spans the years of David Powlett-Jones' life and in typical fashion of books that are the basis of TV & Radio productions, the book fills the gaps left out by these adaptions.

A most enjoyable read that leaves you with a warm feeling inside when you eventually do put it down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Gentle and humane reading
Published 17 days ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 26 days ago by Julia Hornby
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story, very well told
I remember watching this in 1979 when first broadcast and now have the DVD. A great story, although the TV version changes the story a bit here nad there, so it is good to read the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter F Cook
5.0 out of 5 stars To Serve Them all my Days
Excellent - a most enjoyable book which is well written with good descriptions of school and importance of a rounded education. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs C
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic
R F Delderfield. Epic
To Serve Them All My Days.
I remember watching this series of the same name over 30 years ago,on the television. Read more
Published 1 month ago by tom elder
5.0 out of 5 stars My fav book
This is my fav book of all time. harks back to a gentler time and a gentler style of writing, but maintaining a great story
Published 1 month ago by jennifer seabourne
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Arrived promptly in good condition - have always enjoyed this novel, but somehow original copy had gone missing - will look after this one
Published 2 months ago by Mr. R. J. Barnett
5.0 out of 5 stars To serve them all my days
This is a lovely book, which I have read ten times or more. It tells the story of a young Welshman, shattered by his WW1 experiences and of the school which became his home and his... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Anne Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars Old school fiction of the highest order
The characterisation and location are reminiscent of the best earliest twentieth century fiction. Nostalgic without being sentimental, romantic without being slushy and evocative... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr J McGregor
5.0 out of 5 stars To Serve Them All My Days
Beautifully written. I have always been a great fan of R F Delderfield. His books never disappoint me and I recommend them to my friends.
Published 5 months ago by Jean
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