- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 29 May 2004
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This is an amazing novel...so powerful in its brevity. As readers we need to keep this book alive. At the bookstore where I work we haven't had the book for quite a few years. I was determined to read it again (having read it years ago) and then keep it stocked on my recommend shelf. Michael Morpurgo wrote this after his now renowned WARHORSE. And PRIVATE PEACEFUL is certainly as gripping as that story. As Morpurgo says in his Postcript he was amazed to discover that "in the First World War, between 1914 and 1918,over 290 soldiers of the British and Commonwealth armies were executed by firing squad, some for desertion and cowardice, two for simply sleeping at their posts. Many of these men we now know were traumatized by shell shock. Court martials were brief, the accused often unrepresented." This is the story of the Peaceful brothers who fight side by side during some of the harshest trench warfare of WWI. The story will take your breath away.
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 want tonight to be long, as long as my life . . ." For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly -- the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger.
Two brothers serve in the army during WWI, but only one returns home to the family that they both love. The tragedy is that the brother who doesn’t return home is killed not on the battle field, but by firing squad.The novel is formed via foreshadowing. It begins with Tommo telling the story of the Peaceful boys in their formative years as the clock ticks away towards the time when Charlie is to be executed. The first chapter title is “five past ten” and the last “one minute to six”; six o’clock being the time of Charlie’s death. The text is engrossing and sure to be enjoyed by boys in particular. The book is appropriate for high school students.
Fantastic, makes you cry though! A book everyone should read. Goes down well with reading groups. Met author in 2004, lovely man, great speaker.
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