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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2016
As always with Michael Morpurgo you have to remember his target audience is children albeit with enough substance to satisfy an adult reader. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as two others by the same author. The relationship between the brothers seemed a little forced, likewise the heroic rebellious nature of the older brother didn't convince. That said - I'd still recommend it... to children.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 11 October 2014
A beautiful story. As with all Morpurgos stories it is sweet and sad and thought provoking even for the young.
Read this together with your child and you will not enjoy a very special time together but will both learn something about yourselves and each other.
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on 3 March 2015
In Michael Morpurgo's war story you are transported to a pre-World War 1 England at the other end of the social classes to Downton Abbey. It concerns the Peaceful family of mother and the three boys and you learn of the father's death in the first chapter. It is a world of tied cottages, hunger, poaching, loyalty, family and also humour. It is divided into two sections. At the start of each chapter Tommo is talking about his memories, as he waits for a dawn he has no wish to see because of what it will bring. His childhood memories, antics with brother Charlie and friend Molly are gripping, but the contrast to the war years is very poignant. Trench warfare is shown as brutal and confusing, with characters making you proud or angry. It is no wonder that many schools have chosen to study this book and link it to WW1 studies. I have read it many times now, but the ending still makes me cry. Do not see the film until you have read the book. The film is not faithful and therefore becomes irritating despite having some fine actors. The book will make you laugh and cry, as well as transport you to a time that was harsh yet heart-warming.
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on 13 November 2005
It is very hard to find very good books for slightly older children, as most are either too taxing to read, or they more suitable for younger children, but this book hits the mark perfectly, and is a great read for any age, but especially 9-14 year olds. It details the life of Thomas Peaceful who was born around the turn of the century, and it follows him all through his life, the good points and the bad ones, and when he joins the army with his big brother Charlie after war breaks out.
Almost two thirds of the book are flashbacks of Tommo's life leading up to the war, and all of this part is very well written, and helps you to believe that the story could actually be true. One unusual feature is that the chapter numbers are replaced with times in the night, like 'A Quarter Past Ten' and 'Five to Five', and at the beginning of each chapter, you hear Tommo's thoughts about the present before the flashback starts. Also, because of the use of flashbacks, the whole story is set over one night in a barn in France.
Once Tommo and Charlie go to war, you can really get a sense of how terrible life in the trenches was. Every day, the soldiers contended with the rats, lice, mud, and small rations, let alone the enemy. All of this is very realistic and full of facts. Michael Morpurgo actually got inspiration for this book from a story he heard of a boy lying about his age to go off to war, and this is what Tommo does because he is not old enough.
The way Morpurgo writes is easy to read, but it is still a great relaxing read for older children, and even adults.
Every aspect of this book is brilliant and definitely worth reading. This is also essential for anyone studying the 1st or 2nd world wars. I rate this 5 stars and I hope you would too.
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on 23 December 2013
Private Peaceful tells the fictional story of a young man, Tommo Peaceful, who becomes a soldier in the First World War. Unlike many other war stories, it delves into an aspect of war that is much less known about: the soldiers executed for desertion or cowardice.

Inspired by the name on a gravestone in Ypres, this thought-provoking novel explores the injustices suffered by many soldiers and questions the notion of cowardice and heroism in warfare.

Written from the perspective of Tommo Peaceful, the 18-year-old soldier narrates his account in a series of flashbacks over a 24 hour-period, as he reflects upon his life. The writer gradually pieces together the whole story, until the past catches up with the present in the penultimate chapter.

The narrative begins in England during young Tommo's childhood years. The first half of the book focusses on family life in the countryside, from his first day at school to his first job as a farm boy. Events take a dramatic change when, at sixteen Tommo enlists and ''change[s] [his] world of home for [his] world of wars''. The young soldier is soon taken to the battlefields of Belgium, fighting alongside his protective elder brother and best friend, Charlie Peaceful, and experiencing the full brutality of warfare and life on the front line.

This novel epitomises Michael Morpurgo's imaginative and skilful storytelling, which undoubtedly makes him one of Britain's best loved children's authors of today.

The Postscript makes the reader aware that although this story is an invention, the predicament facing Tommo and his brother was very much a reality for many other soldiers fighting in the Great War.

Like Michael Morpurgo's other war stories (such as War Horse, Farm Boy and The Butterfly Lion), Private Peaceful was conceived by his fascination with war and his desire to enable children to better understand it. In the light of the present war in Afghanistan and, as we approach the centenary of the First World War, Morpurgo's books are ever more relevant.
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on 19 December 2005
Once again we are astounded by another great piece of immortal writing by non other than the great Michael Morpurgo himself. The story follows young Thomas Peaceful and his mini-adventures, full of passion, hate, love and shame.
As the story progresses we understand the full emotions of the Peaceful family, their loyalty to each other and experience their dreams and nightmares, their pleasures and hardships. It all starts in the countryside when Tommo is a boy, but as the story unfolds, we see him grow in to a young man, at first moving freely in the beautiful countryside with his brother, and then to dodging bullets in the trenches, forever wondering when death will take him away.
I think the story is (like all the author's books) a true masterpiece of English Literature and writing. The description is unbeatable and makes you feel like you're really in the rat-infested trenches in France.
I would recommend this book to older people and teenagers because some of it is quite advanced for the younger generation and they may struggle with some of it.
The only problem with the book is the ending - it makes you think...what happened? I don't think Michael Morpurgo ties up all the loose ends, and makes you guess.
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on 29 April 2016
This is the second Michael Morpurgo book I have read and it was brilliant. The way he writes makes you feel as though you are there with the characters and you feel everything that they feel, both good and bad. I would highly recommend this book to both children and adults.
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VINE VOICEon 25 March 2004
I borrowed this book from an eight year old boy who had read it twice. I couldn't put the book down, even though there were so many desperately sad moments. At first I though surely this book could traumatize a youngster with its gloom. But once I found myself involved in the story I realized that, on the contrary, younger children will be inspired by the courage Michael Morpurgo paints - I can see that the situations in the book hew closely to the situations children may find themselves in: coping with bullying, living in the shadow of a larger than life sibling ... the battlefield Morpurgo describes is like a classroom of characters kids contend with on a daily basis. Only the finality of death makes it different. And yet, I think a young person will draw courage and wisdom from this superb narrative. I wept for the Peaceful brothers, and yet their story made me feel like I could take on the world. Thank you, Michael Morpurgo.
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on 19 February 2015
I bought this for my daughter as she was reading it at school and was enjoying it so much, she wanted her own copy to read in her own time. She loves Michael Morpurgo books and has read a few (and wants to read more). I can't comment on the actual story as I haven't read it but from what my daughter has said about it, its a good story set in the war which I think is great as it would be so easy to shy away from this subject for this age group and over time it would get forgotten. She was also over the moon with the price as it was so much cheaper than buying it on the high street and even in a supermarket.
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on 22 February 2015
I normally never read this type of book, my grandson told me to read it after reading it at school, i was hooked after the first chapter and had to finish, it brought tears to my eyes but also understanding, please read ...you will be very pleasantly surprised , this is one he'll of a book, will definitely read more of his books, thank you Michael Morpurgo you have done him a great justice....
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