Private Peaceful Paperback – Special Edition, 2 Jun 2016
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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.” Independent
“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.” Times
“Deserved to last as an insight into the First World War in the same way as, say, The Silver Sword or Goodnight Mr Tom.” Telegraph
“A poignant, elegiac novel.” Daily MailSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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 ›
The story begins with Private Tommo Peaceful reflecting life from the battlefields of the First World War. He thinks back to his childhood fondly - memories of his late father, his loving mother, his much respected older brother Charlie, his slow but gentle brother Big Joe and not least his childhood love - Molly. His memories are those of innocence and friendship, hard-luck and love.
As his story progresses, Tommo and Charlie join up to fight in the Great War - Tommo is only 15. They fight side by side and look after each other all the way. Each chapter is full of Tommo's memories, but each chapter also brings the reader closer to the present time - and to the life-changing moment that leaves you breathless.
The ending of the story is stark, brutal, heart-rending and tragic. The tenderness of the writing and the loss felt by the reader is stunning.
Although a book that is aimed at children and young adults - I would recommend that every adult read this - it's not a long story, but the message of the almost forgotten heroes of the First World War is vitally important - especially as the young men of our country are still giving their lives on a daily basis.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read war horse a couple of years ago which I loved. I downloaded private Peaceful when it was on offer. I'm so glad I did. I was hooked from the first page. Read morePublished 2 days ago by cheryl lee
I bought this for my youngest daughter, but thought I would have a read myself first. It is a really easy read, well written with characters you end up loving, but beware.... Read morePublished 6 days ago by simon bruce
This book captures the true essence of the First World War. The ordinary English fighting force: the backbone of our Country were treated abominabley. Read morePublished 8 days ago by franks
this is a really great story inspired by a soldier who died in the Great War,it tells how he grew from being a small lad into a man who alongside his older brother experienced... Read morePublished 12 days ago by richard garton
Having grown up heavily dyslexic (as I still am to this day) I despised reading, until finding Morpurgo. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Megan Edwards
As always with Michael Morpurgo you have to remember his target audience is children albeit with enough substance to satisfy an adult reader. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Partick Potter