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4.8 out of 5 stars
To Serve Them All My Days
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2009
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2012
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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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2001
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
on 3 August 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2013
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2012
This story of a young man invalided out of the army during the 1st War and ending up, at the recommendation of his doctor, as a teacher in a boys Public school in darkest Devon is one of the most moving books I have ever read. As a teacher for many years myself I found I could identify at times with the main character, even though the times and settings are so different. Delderfield has the gift of making you really care about his characters and its sad that he doesn't seem to be as well known these days as he certainly deserves to be. This is a rich banquet of a book and thoroughly recommended reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2010
This story left a huge impression on me. Without spoiling the plot, the main tragedy is just utterly heart rending & one can't but desperately root for Davy Powlett-Jones in his search for happiness (which he finds) and meaning throughout the book.
That saying, this is certainly not a miserable story - it does have its moments of sadness (as one would expect) but it is also constantly uplifiting with many, many moments of fun and happiness.
It is simply a wonderful journey at a pace that is thoroughly in keeping with the milieu of the story and decades it is set in.
The characters are beautiful and it is difficult to put the book down at any stage as the desire to find out what is just around the corner at any time is utterly compelling.

It's not remiss to say that I think I fell in love with Davy's wife, Beth!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is simply wonderful. I am reluctant to read any other Delderfield books as I cannot imagine that they would be anything but a disappointment in comparison to this! (Not that I won't of course). One of the finest books I've ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2011
What I really liked about this book was the steady unexcitable pace it kept; reflecting the ethos of the time, or moreso the people, between the 1st and 2nd world wars. I also liked the style in which the plot related to historical events which were brought to life in a very human way.The characterisations were excellent and interesting and in some cases adorably politically incorrect.
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