Literature and War Readalong May 30 2014: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo is a famous British Children’s author. Some of you may know him from the Spielberg movie War Horse, which was based on one of his novels. I’ve had Private Peaceful on my piles for a while and I’m really keen on reading it finally. I’ve always wondered how you write about war for children. Especially from the point of view of a soldier. We’ve read the Dutch novel Winter in Wartime last year, but that was set among civilians. So I’m curious to find out how explicit the book will be and where Morpurgo draws the line.

I’m glad that CarolineD made me aware that Private Peaceful and My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (our choice for September) have been chosen by CityRead London 2014. CItyRead London is a project to promote reading across the UK capital.

Here are the first sentences

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.

And some details and the blurb for those who want to join

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (UK 2003)  WWI, Children’s Book, 192 pages

Heroism or cowardice? A stunning story of the First World War from a master storyteller.

Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion.

Both a love story and a deeply moving account of the horrors of the First World War, this book will reach everyone from 9 to 90.



The discussion starts on Friday, 30 May 2014.

Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2014, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.

16 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong May 30 2014: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

  1. I remember liking very much your description of Michael Morpugo’s book when you posted the first post for the Literature and War readalong this year. I don’t think I have read a Michael Morpugo book yet. I love the first sentences. So beautiful! Happy reading! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    • I have such high hopes for this but after the last two books . . . I’m reading a lot of children’s literature at the moment, so it will be nice to explore another angle.

  2. I agree that it will be really interesting to see how war is presented in a book aimed at young people. I look forward to your review.

    The book cover with the butterflies reminds me of the ending of the 1930 film version of All Quite on the Western Front.

    • Absolutely. And that’s an amazing movie btw – based on an amazing book. I thik this will be similiar to another book we read in the first readalong, only that was written for gownups, so it will be really interesting to compare.

  3. I’ll be going back to work tomorrow and will pick the book up then! I see that the Chevallier is for next month and by chance it is my most current NYRB subscription book, which just came in the mail this week! I am working on my Barker post now–sort of hard to come back to it after being away and not quite well–but I hope to post it tomorrow–I think I ended up liking the book a bit more than you did–but I will read your post properly when I finish writing my own! It feels good to slowly get back into a normal routine–I feel like I have missed out on too much….

    • It’s always that way when one goes away for a while, isn’t it?
      The Chevallier is the book I’m dreading the most as I’m afraid, it might be graphic but I know it’s said to be outstanding. I think it will be wise to start early. At least I might start it already.
      Toby’s Room didn’t work for me at all. But I think you’ve not read the Regeneration trilogy? I compared this and so it could only disappoint. It had great parts and annoying parts. I’m looking forward to your review.

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