Private Peaceful: Facts About the Book by Michael Morpurgo

Here are some facts about Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.

  • Private Peaceful was published by Harper Collins in 2003.
  • It is a story about a soldier, Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful. He looks back on his life from the World War 1 trenches. Each chapter moves the story forwards in time, until the reader has caught up to Tommo in the trenches. From this point on, the story is written in the present tense.
  • The book examines the horrors of war and the unfair treatment of soldiers who were executed by firing squad for desertion or cowardice.
  • Private Peaceful was turned into a film in October 2012. It was directed by Pat O’Connor and starred George Mackay (as Tommo), Richard Griffiths (as The Colnel) and Maxine Peake (as Hazel).
  • The book was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, won the Red House Children’s Book Award, won the Blue Peter Book Award and was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Best Book of the Last 10 Years Award.
  • During World War 1, nearly 300 British Army soldiers were executed by firing squad for desertion and cowardice. Many of the men were suffering from shell shock, and in 2006 they were granted pardons.
  • Many Devon locations feature in Private Peaceful, and Michael Morpurgo used the book Devon in 1914 by James Ravilious to help him visualise how it would have looked in 1914.
  • In 2009 Michael Morpurgo travelled to Ypres in Belgium to better understand World War 1. In a war cemetery, five miles outside of Ypres, he found a grave bearing the name Private Peaceful.
  • Private Peaceful isn’t the only Michael Morpurgo book to focus on the subject of war. Shadow, A Medal for Leroy, War Horse and Why the Whales Came also feature conflict as a theme. In the clip below, Michael Morpuro talks about war as a theme in his novels.

  • In 2011, Michael Morpurgo said that Private Peaceful was his favourite of all the books he’s written.

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3 Responses to Private Peaceful: Facts About the Book by Michael Morpurgo

  1. There was only one true fact about two brothers being FGCM together for the same offence in the First World War and that was the Bartlett brothers.My grandfather escaped the firing squad and lived to tell the tale to which I am now in the process of writing his memoirs then hopefully a book which I know the public will find very interesting

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