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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 November 2003
Obviously now Mr Morpurgo knows what he's doing, and so it's no surprise that this is a well written book. However I was surprised that he'd produced such a good First World War novel. He hasn't fallen into any of the usual traps - instead he shows us a group of normal people. The Germans aren't demons, the British aren't saints, and although the war is ever-present, much of the narrative concerns events that happened years before it.
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.
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on 5 July 2004
A friend and I just listened to these CDs on a car journey to York and I must say that this is one of the best audio books I have ever heard. We were not aware of Michael Morpurgo's being a children's author beforehand and bought it only because of the First World War theme. This is not a purely children's book at all, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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.
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on 2 March 2006
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.It was an emotional and moving story about Tommo Peaceful as a young soldier in the first world war looking back on his life. He always trusted his older brother Charlie who was a best friend to him.The loyalty between them didn't waiver all through the book. Then at school a girl called Molly makes friends with him and Charlie. Big Joe their older brother, who is always very happy and loves everyone, loves Molly too. The things they get up to are amazing. Micheal Morpurgo makes you feel in the book from the first word to the last. I couldn't put it down.
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2006
"I happened to interview three farm boy veterans, then well into their eighties, when I was researching my book War Horse. They told me something of what they had lived through. There was no poetry in their stories, only horror and regret and great sadness for the loss of good friends. So I came to write Private Peaceful." - Michael Morpurgo took something away with him after those interviews, and he gifts that to you, the reader.

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. And so is the world as he knows it.

I won't tell you why he is waiting. I won't tell you how it ends. I will tell you that if you plan to read any of Michael Morpurgos books, then do read this one. It is written in quite simple terms, but it is extremely effective, and I guarantee this book will move you before you close that final page, whatever age you are.
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I have been a fan of Michael Murpurgo for some time now and have enjoyed every book of his that I've read so far, but Private Peaceful takes his writing to another level. It's a long time since I've been moved so much by a story, this one left me with the same feeling as the end of 'The Boy In Striped Pyjamas'. I smiled and I cried and I wont forget this for a very long time - if ever.

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.
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on 19 October 2008
I read this book one Saturday when I was in bed with 'flu. I was totally gripped by the compelling story and at the end I wailed so loudly that my husband came running in from the bathroom where he had been shaving to see if I was actually dying. I managed to reassure him through sobs that I wasn't actually dying, but that my book was very sad! Once I was better I did some research on the internet and saw that that kind of thing really did happen. I would recommend this book to anyone.
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on 11 March 2012
Private Peaceful has to be my favourite book ever. Its about two brothers growing up in World War 1 and eventually fighting in it. As Tommo looks back on his & Charlie's lives the inevitable grows ever closer...
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on 26 March 2006
Priviate peaceful is one of thoes books you cannot put down you just want to read more. It's athrilling tale of how Tommo and his big brother Charlie have a simple life playing with there friend Molly. Just having fun. Until the war hits Nd Charlie and Tommo fight for there lives in the war of the Century. Still keepingin touch with their loved ones and still beind traumertised and fighting for days on end. Life will never be the same again. You need a strong stomach to read this book but it is truly fabuloes.
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VINE VOICEon 13 November 2015
This is a novel of two halves. The first half covers the lives of the young Peaceful brothers in pre-First World War Devon (the author revealed in an afterword that there really was a family of brothers surnamed Peacefull (sic) who fought and in some cases died in the war). The second half is about the experiences of Charlie and Tommo at the front. Much of the narrative is quite matter of fact in its descriptions of what they are going through, while still giving a good feel for the hardships of serving in the trenches. The last chapter is extremely moving and tragic. A good read.
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VINE VOICEon 13 December 2007
Although this is described as an adult book, I think it should be compulsary reading on the curriculum for English and History. This is such a simple , beautiful but utterly powerful novel. The writing is superb and so easy to read. Admittedly, for kids, the first half might be slightly slow but it is necessary to bring the characters to life for the sake of the climax. I just loved this book and Michael Morpurgo does justice to the brave young men who were victims of WW1.
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