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When the Guns Fall Silent Paperback – 7 Nov 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reissue edition (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192735705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192735706
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Riordan grew up during the war in his chimney-sweep grandfather's house in Portsmouth. After school he was a barman, waiter, railway clerk, commercial salesman, and dance band musician. During his National Service in the RAF he learned Russian and went on to become Professor of Russian Studies at Surrey University. Besides novels, he has written folk-tale collections, picture books and over 20 academic publications. His first novel for children, Sweet Clarinet, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Children's Book Award and, like his other novels The Prisoner and When the Guns Fall Silent, is based partly on his own wartime experiences.


Product Description

Review

'This is a necessary, powerful, outspoken but ultimately healing book, something all young people born into more fortunate generations should read.' (The School Librarian)

'A moving story which fully captures the horrors of war. One of the best children's or teen books to tackle a difficult topic.' (The Bookbag)

This is a moving account of the reality of war and the terrible personal cost to a 17-year old recruit. (Pat Walsh, Historical Novel Review)

James Riordan was one of our most powerful writers of war stories... All secondary schools should take the opportunity to re-stock this important title. (Kathryn Tyson, The School Librarian Magazine)

This is compelling, revealing reading. (Caroline Franklin, Newbury Weekly News)

Beautifully written by an accomplished storyteller... (Paul Dowswell, Carousel: The Guide to Children's Books)

Book Description

A new edition to commemorate the First World War centenary.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Schneider on 11 July 2005
Format: Paperback
This book I got from the libriary as a read for the summer holidays. I started reading it and all day I lay in the hammock and read. Its about a person called Jack looking back on his memories from World War I. This is a book on friendship and loyalness. James Riordan describes the scenery incredibly vividly and shows you whats happening not just telling you. This boy dosen't want war and the description of the carols leading up to the famous December 25th football match is immaculate. The 'Fritz' or the 'Hun' as the Germans are called become his unlightly friends but foe.
This book is relatively short but therefore does not drag on and on as some books do.
I'd suggest reading it at any time anywhere!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jack Loveless is sixteen years old and loves football. When news of the war with Germany filters through on 4 August 1914, Jack and his best friend Harry's first thoughts are that they might finally be given an opportunity to play for Pompey, Portsmouth's football club. But the authorities decide that, with trainers in short supply, combining football practice and military drill seems like a good idea. After a short stint at Aldershot Barracks for disobeying orders, Jack and Harry, along with their old school friend Freddie, find themselves enlisting and are on their way to France.

Dedicated to the author's grandfather, who fought in the conflict, and his grandson, this timely republication to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War was clearly written for a young readership and at times feels very personal. Set out as a framed narrative, the main portion of this novella takes place in the last few months of 1914, with events in 1964, with the now elderly Jack and his grandson, setting the scene at the beginning and providing a poignant conclusion. James Riordan captures the atmosphere very well: initial idealism, innocence and naivety giving way to horror, bitterness and resignation. The descriptions of the conflict, both in the trenches as well as at camp and in the hospital, are very graphic and might not be suitable for younger or very sensitive children, even turning my stomach on more than one occasion. The author takes great pains to portray the Germans not as the enemy as such, but as ordinary men and soldiers following orders, leading up to the Christmas Truce football match that has entered the history books. Where he is less balanced is in the portrayal of the officers, who I felt fall into the - now largely outdated view, surely?
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Format: Paperback
I have used this book as a class reader with groups of Year 8 pupils and the response was excellent. It kept even the most reluctant readers on the edge of their seats - from the laughter inspired by the blustering and amusingly named (if you are in Year 8) headteacher - through to the almost astonished disbelief at some of the treatment dished out to the ranks by the officers. The opportunities for work based on the text are many and varied. The "Movie Maker" presentations we created to accompany the "Green Fields of France" song which is quoted at the start of one of the chapters brought some pupils close to tears - and caused me to have to step outside the door on one or two occasions. There are opportunities for writing diaries based on the text. We started by examining the persuasion of recruiting posters (Kitchener's famous pointing finger appears right at the start of the book). Then we looked at jingoistic poetry from the period. There is a very poignant and almost lyrical description of the grave yard early on in the book which provided an excellent basis for analysing authorial technique. This can be followed up with the pupils writing their own piece based on a location after a major event. This provoked some very moving writing from the pupils. My only "problem" with this book was steeling myself to read it to them without feeling moved by it. It is hard to read when your voice gets tight!! There is some use of mildly bad language (nothing gratuitous or out of context) but you might need to be aware of it if you intend to read it to children. Another beauty of it is the fact that there is a companion novel that traces the experiences of the sisters of the main character, and they become involved in war work and this book looks at the way the war changed lives for girls and women.
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By Petra just a girl who loves to read... TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When the Guns Fall Silent written by James Riordan for me was an emotional yet strong read throughout which I do believe is aimed at the youth market but for me I do believe even the older readers would enjoy this short but very powerful read.
The actual book is based on a Grandfather's memories of war and those memories were raw yet spoke the realities of war. This is one book which should be read this very special year of 2014 when so much emphasis is being put on the First World War, the so called war to end all wars. While now we know that was not the case but this is a book which showed they took children to war to fight like a man, and those in charge did not care! I have read many books based on this era and not one has spoken like this short read as nothing of the suffering of those poor but yet the bravest of men is missed from this book. I know it is one book I will never forget as I remember the three musketeers as they lovingly called the three boys who left school and within days was sent to war.
As I read the memories of Jim I did flinch at some of the words that were used and the raw way death is described therefore in my personal opinion I do believe for some readers especially the younger generation it might not be suitable but for me it was an open and honest account of what war does to the innocent and I liked how Jim was able to see the German lads or soldiers were not all bad as those in power made them out to be.

The author has written his Grandfather's story of how he fought in the First World War and when he returned to France to the graves of his friends in the 1960's accompanied by the author when he was a young lad.
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