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To Serve Them All My Days Paperback – March 1, 2009
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"[L]ush and descriptive... " - Books Like Breathing
"Delderfield's love of the boys and the teachers is contagious and provides a touching tribute to this time in British history." - We Be Reading
"Delderfield takes his time in telling his story... filled with details." - Book Are My Only Friends
"A rich and complex story... the author brings the story full circle in a charming way." - The Tome Traveller's Weblog
"I can't thank Sourcebooks enough for reprinting the R.F. Delderfield novels. All of them are wonderful reads, engrossing and comforting at the same time." - Booksie's Blog
"Fascinating... a book to savor. " - Library Queue
"Reading To Serve Them All My Days is an experience, not merely an activity and it is one of those books that give you a story you will not soon forget, that will give you characters that you will know, inside out, and you will crave to meet one more time." - Reading Extravaganza
"A beautifully-written, emotionally charged and complex tale of one man's life, tragedies, hope and healing, set at an English boarding school. Absolutely engrossing." - Bookfoolery and Babble
About the Author
Born in South London in 1912, R.F. Delderfield was a journalist, playwright, and a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. He has remained one of England's most beloved novelists, with many of his novels being adapted into television and film, including the landmark BBC miniseries of To Serve Them All My Days.
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Top customer reviews
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“Pow-Wow” or “P.J.” as he is soon christened by his students is a born teacher. He is demanding but fair. His goal is to teach his young charges the “why” of history which he sees as important as chronology. If it takes mnemonics to recall the order of British kings then so be it. As David immerses himself in teaching, his PTSD is lessened and he is able to get on with his life and what a life it is. A personal tragedy in his family threatens to undo all of his recovery while political and philosophical feuds with colleagues and an overbearing headmaster move the tale along at a languid pace that never causes the reader to lose interest. There is a less than happy ending but the ending is as happy as possible given the early days of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain. P.J. wonders if all that his generation suffered for in the Great War has been for naught as he contemplates Bamfylde School’s first casualty list of WWII.
Delderfield’s use of language and descriptive passages are superb. This is not an easy read but it a rewarding one for this alone. As one reads, the mental pictures created by his prose make the story both interesting and compelling. While some might fault Delderfield for being overly sentimental, I suggest that this is a misunderstanding of the era and the public school system as it then existed in Britain.
Finally, there is a hint of Good-Bye Mr. Chips in the book due to its setting and time in history. However, David Powlett-Jones is more John Keating than Mr. Chipping. He is a better teacher, more attuned to his charges and more much more passionate about his subject.
To Serve Then All My Days is simply a very beautiful book written in simple but brilliant prose and one that you will not forget...ever!
The story of David Powlett-Jones who takes a position at a boy's public school following his discharge from the army.
A broken and damaged young man, who had spent three years in the muddy and bloody trenches of Europe in the First World War, he finds solace and eventually wisdom and love in the embrace of his pupils and fellow school masters.
The story, like life itself, is not clear sailing however. There is tragedy and great sadness within these pages as well as times of triumph and joy,but there is not a sentimental or mawkish sentence in the entire book.
A rather lengthy book as we travel with Powlett-Jones from the First World War through to the Second World War, but there is never a time when you want it to finish. In fact I feel quite lost now that I have to leave behind all those characters I got to know so very well, but I can always revisit this wonderful book and if time allows I most certainly will.
The heavier parts of the book are countered with enjoyable tales of the students. At times I couldn't help but be reminded of James Herriot's "All Creatures" but with a slightly more serious tone. He is after all dealing with children and not livestock (as the main character is apt to point out).
I didn't understand significant parts of the book because I know almost nothing about private English boys schools; the grading system and how the school was organized remain mysteries to me. And after a while the vignettes of the boys who pass through the school blurred.
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoy all his books.
from a vanished age. Sadly the language, customs and social mores presented here will likely appear to be incomprehensible to...Read more
Saw the tv series years ago
It was a pleasure to go back to the stories