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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving and heartbreaking book
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...
Published on 11 July 2005 by R. Schneider

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prefer real factual history to fictionalised accounts
This book was first published in 2000 and has been reissued to coincide with the 2014 First World War centenary. The aim of the book is admirable - to bring to life for a young teen audience the reality of WW1 and to end on a note of hope. However, I am concerned about the historical accuracy of the novel, and the author's wish to end on a hopeful note. Sadly, the...
Published 10 months ago by Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving and heartbreaking book, 11 July 2005
By 
R. Schneider "What we all love" (Marlborough UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing children to the horrors of the First World War, 28 Sept. 2014
By 
Petra Bryce "bookworm" (Malvern, Worcs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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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? - of stupid upper-class toffs completely removed from the day-to-day warfare in the trenches and having a cosy old time back at the chateau, playing fencing matches with their public-school pals. This perpetuation of a stereotype, a rather unlikely coincidence at the beginning and an in my view improbable situation in the trenches towards the end of the book aside aside, this is a well-written account of the horrors and effects of war on teenagers, who enlisted without any idea what they were letting themselves in for, many probably not much older than the target audience.

This edition features excerpts from famous, and not so famous, war poets, as well as sayings and songs of the day, adding an extra dimension and authenticity to the narrative. From a purely literary point of view, confident readers of 10+ years shouldn't have any problems with this book, but because of the harrowing subject matter, a reading age of 12-13 might probably be more advised.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as a class reader, 5 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (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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4.0 out of 5 stars powerful but heartbreaking.., 27 Jan. 2014
By 
Petra "I love to read" "book addict!!!" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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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. The Grandfather narrates his own memories of his time there and for me it made the book more real and this for me was more than an eye-opening read but one which brought the realities and the cruelty of war through a very vividly written book which is written with openness and factual historical references throughout.
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4.0 out of 5 stars GLIMMERS OF HOPE, 8 Dec. 2013
By 
Mr. D. L. Rees "LEE DAVID" (DORSET) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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At long last Jack is prepared to tell grandson Perry of his experiences in the trenches. Visiting war graves in France, they meet little Gretel and her Grossvater Erich. Quite a coincidence. Both Erich and Jack had been in one of The Great War's most remarkable episodes. Christmas,1914 - with a lull in the fighting, German and British soldiers sing carols together and play football....

The bulk of this slim book tells how seventeen year old Jack and his mates set off to war - all soon to become haggard, exhausted, terrified, caught up in sights and sounds that will forever haunt. Especially moving are the letters Jack sends and receives - including one to the mother of a friend, true circumstances of his death considerably grimmer than described.

I liked what the book tries to do rather more than how it does it. Its format is unnecessarily a trifle awkward. Perhaps the current day grandfather and Perry sequences would feature better as a separate Prologue and Epilogue, the latter preferably with Perry far more deeply affected by what he has learned.

All in all, here is a modest but affecting addition to accounts of conditions in the First World War, extracts from the War Poets adding to the impact. Will man ever learn from revelations of such experiences? That is the hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prefer real factual history to fictionalised accounts, 3 May 2014
By 
Ms. C. R. Stillman-lowe "Cathy SL" (Reading Berks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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This book was first published in 2000 and has been reissued to coincide with the 2014 First World War centenary. The aim of the book is admirable - to bring to life for a young teen audience the reality of WW1 and to end on a note of hope. However, I am concerned about the historical accuracy of the novel, and the author's wish to end on a hopeful note. Sadly, the refrain of 'Never again' which appears on the final page of the book proved to be ill founded.
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5.0 out of 5 stars and the total waste of life that war carries in its wake, 11 Nov. 2014
By 
laineyf "widnes" (warwickshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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This book is aimed at the children/young adult genre, and I am a mature adult reader, but neverthless found the story to be very moving, effective and poignant, particularly now, on the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. I think this book should be read by all the young generations, to help them to realise the utter futility of war, the lies that were told (it'll all be over by Christmas etc), the fact that war is NOT a big adventure, and the total waste of life that war carries in its wake. Jacks' story is told in such a way that will keep younger readers' attention, and his voice will mean more than any amount of facts will. The book also gives a view from both sides - the German soldiers were obeying orders, as were the English, and the Christmas Day football match is extremely moving. The Officers are shown in a very poor light, not at all in touch with the soldiers and what they faced daily. We must NEVER forget the sacrifices made so that we are here today, and it must NEVER happen again. The younger generation will hopefully learn from the catastrophe of war, and this book, and others like it, will go a long way to ensure that lessons are learned, I feel. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for the celebration of the centenary of World War One, 17 Jun. 2014
By 
S. A. Broadhurst "SBroadhurst" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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Friendship and loyalty runs throughout this book. The author reminicses of his Grandfather's wartime stories and his memories of life in France where he returns. There is lots of memories included within the book and I think that it would be perfect for children to read as first hand experiences during the first World War, telling of both Highly emotional and honest material throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale That Moved Me To Tears, 14 Oct. 2014
By 
H. Pierce (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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James Riordan created a wonderfully moving tale when he wrote 'When the Guns Fall SIlent'. The book contains plenty of factual snippets, of events that actually happened in World War 1. It is set inside a fictional story, although I wonder how much of it was taken from his own grandfather's experiences of life in WW1.

The story begins with Jack, now an old man, taking his grandson to look at the graves of those who fell in the war. It brings back so many memories that he is almost transported back to the terrors of those dark days of conflict. The memory also brings back, with such clarity, the time that the guns fell silent and the men on either side of the divide came together for a short piece of time.

The tale is a compelling read, and I found myself entirely caught up in the horror of it all, followed swiftly by the hope offered at the end of the book.

Overall, I highly recommend this moving tale to all, as a reminder of the horrors of war and a message to future generations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars When the Guns Fall Silent, 2 May 2014
By 
Sandford "Sandy" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: When the Guns Fall Silent (Paperback)
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Vibrancy would be the best word for me to encapsulate the novel’s effect upon me. It is lively, animated, and extremely well-paced leaving the reader not much time to draw breath. The text is very tight, the relative shortness of the novel being a blessing in a way, as I felt an almost continual onslaught which I felt draining.

Everything is so well portrayed with tight historical detail; the harshness of life on the front, as well as at home, and the nature of endurance facing adversity. The author doesn’t flinch from presenting the misery, horror and desperate reality of life at that time. He pays particular respect to the reader I feel, in that he doesn’t protect the young audience, but presents it all in a most digestible way. The notion of the mutuality of suffering from both sides of the trenches is most empathetically presented.

I do give this novel high praise.
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When the Guns Fall Silent
When the Guns Fall Silent by James Riordan (Paperback - 7 Nov. 2013)
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