Private Peaceful

Even more powerful than War Horse. Shot at dawn. Written out of history. A First World War tale to burn into your mind. Amid the blazing battlefields of the Western Front, young Private ‘Tommo’ Peaceful remembers his childhood. His memory is full of his family life in the countryside. But each passing moment brings Tommo closer to morning, when his life will change in a heartbreaking way… In this impassioned tale, master writer Michael Morpurgo explores the forgotten fate of the soldiers shot for cowardice in the Great War. Their names left off the memorials. Their stories untold – until now.

  • Winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award
  • Winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award
  • Shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize and Carnegie Medal
  • A searing look at a little-known aspect of World War I

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Recent reviews

  • loved it

    Great book I recommend you to read it

    3 October 2016

  • loved it

    This book moved me so deeply it’s unreal; I love the way Michael Morpurgo made this book tell this story.

    16 July 2016

  • I am reading this book in school and I absouletly love it!

    10 June 2016

  • so sad but so heart warming. the young love was so cute.

    4 March 2014

  • loved it

    I really enjoyed Private Peaceful. Is is one of, or even my favourite Michael Morpurgo to date. I really love the way Michael has written Private Peaceful- the way that history is merged with fiction and a love story. The most captivating thing about the story is that Private Peaceful was a real person, not only a real person but somebody who fought and died representing our country. My favourite scene in Private Peaceful has to be when the German gassed the British Trench. Not only did it illustrate the horrors that can occur in the Trenches but it also illustrates the fact that there isnt really a good side or a bad side; every soldier wanted peace in Europe and were mainly innocent people. This is shown when a German soldier is inches away from killing Tommo but lets him go. At this point I was on the edge of my seat. My favourite character in Private Peaceful has to be Charlie. Charlie is a kind, innocent and caring person; hes the sort of person everybody would want as an older brother. At school if Tommo was being bullied Charlie protected him. In one scene Charlie starts (and ends) a fight with a boy (name?) who was making fun of Big Joe- this scene shows how close the Peaceful Family were. It was not just in his school years that Charlie protected Tommo. Close to the end of the story Tommo is seriously wounded on their mission to capture a German Trench. Sergeant `Horrible` Hanley (as he was known) ordered Charlie to leave his brother their (to die) and carry on with the mission. Fortunately, Charlie stayed with his brother and dragged him back to their trenches. Charlie had such a close bond with Tommo that he just wouldn’t let him die, but unfortunately for Charlie it meant that he would die because he was given a court martial for not following the sergeants orders. Charlie was shot for cowardice without a fair trial. Sadly, the injustice that occurs in this bit was not fictional but fact! During World War One 290 (British) soldiers died because of what was thought to be cowardice but later was found to be shell shock and tiredness. I`d like to think that Private Peaceful was the trigger for the Queen to give all of the soldiers shot for cowardice a posthumous pardon. I have a lot of sympathy for Tommo because to grow up so close to Charlie and to feel so secure around him, when he died Tommo must have felt lost, depressed and probably wanted to give up. Despite this he still had to fight in the Battle of the Somme. The beauty of this book is that the story doesn’t finish as soon as you close the last page; the story continues in your head- did Tommo survive World War One? How did the Peaceful Family react? Did Tommo become a father to Little Tommo, a father that Little Tommo would never grow up with and most importantly did the love story end well for Tommo- did Molly and Tommo live happily ever after just like Tommo visioned when he first met her? Although there is one bad bit of the book. Michael Morpurgo left us crying! I rate Private Peaceful 10/10, a great book that leaves us sitting on the edge of the seat (with a box of tissues!) I would reccomend this book to anybody! Whether its an avid reader, a history bof, an action-seeker or a reader in search of a sad story of War, Love, Family and Tragedy this book would thrill everybody from the ages of 9-99. Superb!

    Ben, aged 13

    24 February 2014

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  • Photo of Michael Morpurgo

    Michael Morpurgo

    Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has written over 100 books for children, and has won a multitude of awards as well as serving as Children’s Laureate from 2003-2005.


    Michael was the Children’s Laureate 2003-2005, and has won many awards including The Whitbread Prize For The Wreck of the Zanzibar, the Smarties prize for The Butterfly Lion the Blue Peter Award for Private Peaceful and the Red House award for Shadow.

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