Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo

About book

Private Peaceful is an English novel written by Michael Morpurgo. Book was published in 2003. The story is held in United Kingdom between World War I (1914-1918). Main characters in the book are Thomas Peaceful, Charlie Peaceful and Molly. The story is based on true events in the past.

Author's biography

Michael Morpurgo is an English poet, writer, playwright and librettist. He was born in UK on 5 October in 1943. When he was young he attended primary school in London. After that he attended high school in Canterbury and then he went to the Royal Military Academy in Berkshire.

His most famous books are:

  • · Private Peaceful
  • · The Butterfly Lion
  • · War Horse
  • · Waiting for Anya
  • · Beowulf
  • · Alone on Wide, Wide Sea

Morpurgo writes for children, teenagers and adults. He has written over 100 books. For novel Private Peaceful he received 4 international awards.

He is married and has 3 children, at present he lives on a farm in Devon, UK.

Book summary

The main characters in the story are Charlie and Tommo Peaceful, brothers who decide to fight in the World War I against Germans. The story begins while the Peaceful brothers are going to school, with their mother. It is Tommo's first day at school and he is very scared, because of Charlie's horrible teacher, Mr Munnings. Their father is carpenter which works at Colonel’s. Colonel is the owner of wood-making company. One day Tommo and father go to forest to cut down some trees. While cutting down a tree father dies because tree fall on him.

In school Tommo meets a nice girl called Molly, who helps Tommo tie his laces. Tommo then falls in love with Molly partly because she is so kind to him. Tommo’s brother Charlie meets Molly too, and he also falls in love with her. Charlie starts meeting Molly secretly. Finally, Charlie marries Molly, this dreadfully upsets Tommo. After a while Molly becomes pregnant.

Sooner, Charlie decides that he wants to fight in the war, although he is too young. His brother Tommo also wants to fight. Charlie and Tommo manage to convince their mother to let them go. Both meet Sergeant Hanley, who gives the brothers a horrible time. Sergeant didn’t like them very much, he bullies them constantly. One day Hanley commands the group of soldiers to do something so ridiculous and this Charlie disobeys it. Because he didn’t obey Sergeant’s rules he was punished. Story has a sad ending, Charlie Peaceful is shot on request of Sergeant because he had broke rules.

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World War I

World War I lasted 4 years (1914-1918). More than 10 million civilians and soldiers died as the result of the war. In the war were two opposing alliances: Allies (Italy, United Kingdom, Russian Empire, France) and Central Powers (Germany, Hungary, Austria). During the war Japan and USA joined the Allies, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria joined Central Powers. Cause for war was assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, which was shot by Bosnian Gavrilo Princip. The winners of the World War I were Allies, Central Powers were losers, so they had to pay high taxes.
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There is also a film which is based on a book. Film was released in 2012 and it was shot in UK. Director of the film was Pat O’ Connor. Film received many positive critics. The average rating for film on IMDB website is 6.2 out of 10.

PRIVATE PEACEFUL - Official Trailer 2012 [HD]

My opinion

My favourite character is Charlie, because he is very courage to disobey Hanley's order. I really respect his bravery. Words Innocence and Love, Courage and Cowardice, which are written on the cover of the book are very inspiring. I love this book because of the perfect mix of joy and tragedy. I find some old British phrases in the book which I couldn’t understand properly. I certainly recommend this book to other readers.

Luka Podboršek

Sources [online] (november 2015) [online] (november 2015) [online] (november 2015) [online] (november 2015)

Private Peaceful book by Michael Morpurgo