Private Peaceful

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Novels

Private Peaceful is a novel written by Michael Morpurgo. It is about a soldier called Thomas, or Tommo Peaceful, who is looking back on his life from the trenches of WWI. But as he thinks back, the time ticks ever closer to something which will change his life forever. The book was shortlisted for the children's section of the Whitbread Award. Since 2006, this has been known as the Costa Book Awards.

In 2005 and 2006 Michael Morporgo presented a series of concerts called "Private Peaceful". This was a set of readings by Michael and some songs and tunes by Coope Boyes and Simpson. Back in 1995 the trio had been commissioned to create a concert in Passchendaele church with Flemish muscians. This was released as "We're Here Because We're Here:Concert Party Passchendaele", a live album. Morporgo met up with them in September 2000 at a conference on "Children's Literature in Peace and War". He was so impressed by the songs that the trio sang that he invited them to add music to "Some Desperate Glory". This was a set of readings of war poetry devised by Morpurgo, and read by Jim Broadbent and others. Soon after they put together the material for "Private Peaceful".

Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

As Tommo looks back at his childhood life from the trenches, he remembers when his father died in a tree cutting accident which he blamed himself for, when he started school and fell in love with a girl called Molly, and how he lived with his 2 brothers, one of which had special needs.

At the start of each chapter, it tells you a little more of how the plot is unravelling in the future, and then flicks back to the past. It tells you of how Tommo his older brother Charlie and Molly would go and poach from the colonels land so they could eat.

Secretly though, Charlie had been seeing Molly when Tommo is not there, and it is eventually revealed that Molly is pregnant with Charlie's child, who they eventually name little Tommo.

The two boys then have to leave to join the army. Charlie protects Tommo in the army.

Sergeant Hanley is very evil and punishes and picks on Charlie. Charlie gets injured and sent home but after Charlie comes back the boys move to Belgium and they get a nice new leader called Captain Wilkes.

Captain Wilkes gets injured and when Hanley comes back Charlie refuses to leave Tommo so he gets Court Marshalled and shot at 6:00 AM

ISBN 0-439-63648-5 (1st American edition); ISBN 0-439-63653-1 (paperback edition)

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