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To Serve Them All My Days (1972)

por R. F. Delderfield

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8742024,186 (4.18)178
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"R.F. Delderfield is a born storyteller." ?? Sunday Mirror

To Serve Them All My Days is the moving saga of David Powlett-Jones, who returns from World War I injured and shell-shocked. He is hired to teach history at Bamfylde School, where he rejects the formal curriculum and teaches the causes and consequences of the Great War.

Eventually David earns the respect of his students and many of his fellow teachers, against the backdrop of a country struggling to redefine itself. As David falls in love and finds himself on track to possibly take on the headmaster role, he must search to find the strength to hold true to his beliefs as the specter of another great war looms.

To Serve Them All My Days is a brilliant picture of England between the World Wars, as the country comes to terms with the horrors of the Great War and the new forces reshaping the British government and society.

Subject of a Landmark BBC Miniseries

Includes Bonus Reading Group Guide

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

"Mr. Delderfield's manner is easy, modest, heartwarming."??Evening Standard
"He built an imposing artistic social history that promises to join those of his great forebears in the long, noble line of the English novel. His narratives belong in a tradition that goes back to John Galsworthy and Arnold Bennett."??Life Magazine
"Sheer, wonderful storytelling."??Chicago Tribune
"Highly recommended. Combines tension with a splendid sense of atmosphere and vivid characterisation. An excellent read." ??Sunday E
… (mais)

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    charlie68: Similar themes.
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    charlie68: Similar themes and setting.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A well done look at an English school for boys, taking place between the two world wars of the twentieth century. I never felt like putting it down, it kept me interested, even enthralled at times. Some of the slang confused me at first, but most became clear in the context. ( )
  fuzzi | Jan 21, 2023 |
(28) Oh dear - I loved this book . . . just loved from the first page to the last. It checks all the boxes for me - long and twisty with the passage of time; strong sense of place; historical backdrop; erudite yet whimsical at the same time - none of the ponderous pretension of postmodernism - just excellent story-telling and dialogue. A shell-shocked young Welshman, survivor of trench warfare is sent to a remote public school in the north of England to be a schoolmaster. Perhaps a sense of purpose away from everything can help him recover in some meaningful way. David Powlett-Jones is a fish out of water but with the help of the jovial Headmaster, and some crusty friends, he earns the trust of the boys who are balm to his wounds. He finds he is a damn good teacher and mentor and Bamfylde - the school - becomes his universe. And the readers too, for several weeks as this is a 600 page book with closely-spaced type on big pages! I was lost in it and looked forward to reading it everyday.

I loved Howarth and Towser, and the interlude with Alcock as Head and the tense exchanges between he and PJ - so well done. I couldn't believe Beth and the twins; and never really warmed up to Chris. I am now watching the BBC miniseries on You-tube and think it would make a great re-make for HBO/Netflix. Anyway, I digress. I think this is a tremendous testament to living a life defined by meaningful work. however that is defined by you. You stay with it; through the ups and the down; sometimes just showing up is all you can do; and then sometimes you are inspired and you move forward in great leaps and bounds. It resonated for me in the medical profession where so many of us are experiencing burn-out and looking to jump ship. Some days are Carters, and Alcocks, and tedium, and the smell of the piggeries. And some days are frost on the moor; Boyer, the Kassavas; and Scotch with an old friend.

This novel is great entertainment and great solace. It has much to say about duty, honor, paying it forward, recompense for hard work; generational tension; generosity. It reminds me a bit of 'The Cazalet Chronicles, by Elizabeth Jane Howard, of a 'A Separate Peace' by John Knowles. Both very different but impactful books that gave me the same glow after reading as this fabulous novel. Put it on your summer reading list! ( )
1 vote jhowell | Jun 6, 2022 |
This is a peculiarly old fashioned thing. Set between 1917 and 1941 I suspect it would have appeared to be looking back at the life of a school master through rose tinted glasses even when first published. David Powlett-Jones was wounded in WW1 and we first meet him as he approaches a private boys school to be interviewed as a school master. He has no degree, no qualifications in teaching, he's been suggested that he try it by the medical officer at the army hospital as a remedy for his shell shock. After this slightly unusual introduction to education, it turns out that he actually has a bit of a flair for teaching and history is his subject. Through the new boy we meet the existing staff, the rather eccentric head master, the various boys of all ages. You don't meet all of them, just ones that will re-appear multiple times as the book follows him over the next 20 years or so. Along the way he acquires a wife & twins, then tragedy strikes and his life is in almost as big a mess as it was in the beginning.
By the time you reach the ending, the appeal of the various escapades that have taken place along the way have started to pall slightly. David is engaging enough, although his dealings with women cause me to shake my head at him - this is a man married to the school. The cynic in me is uncertain that schools were ever this good - certainly we don't meet enough of the masters that must be needed to teach 400 boys, so what are the other like? We seem to meet the good ones, or the ones that are good but have a character flaw of some description. Thinking back I can remember a few really good teachers, but the majority were mostly going through the motions. - and I think we knew that even then. His longevity might be surprising, except that I was taught by a teacher who had previously taught my mother at the same school, so while unusual, it's not impossible, although probably increasingly unlikely. It is also unrelentingly male, the few women that appear are David's love life, the matron and the occasional female teacher.
The ending is bittersweet. Having fought in one war, David is recording the names of old boys who have died in a second. There is then the death of a long standing teacher and the birth of a child to balance the account. The arrival of a invalided soldier as a new teacher sees the beginning in the end, although you suspect a rather different story will be played out in the next 20 or so years. ( )
  Helenliz | Jan 5, 2022 |
So I'm apparently the last person on earth to read this one but that oversight is finally over. And what a book! David Powlett-Jones returns from WWI, damaged both physically and mentally and is directed to try his hand teaching at Bamfylde, a boys' boarding school near Devon. No degree or experience but he seems to have found the place to heal his soul, among the boys and colleagues, all so vividly portrayed by a master storyteller.

The book is long, over 600 pages, but the time just flew by as I was reading because it was so very engaging. And compelling. Complex characters, especially his characterization of the female characters, which is particularly impressive considering the book was written in the early 70s and depicts the years between the wars. Someone described it as sentimental. Maybe so but also compassionate, funny, endearing and just wonderful all the way around. This book was enhanced for me by the Backlisted podcast which I listened to earlier today. I found the BBC mini-series on YouTube and will have to watch that, because of course I will. ( )
1 vote brenzi | Nov 17, 2021 |
I was surprised how hard I found to put this book down when I was reading it—David's life drew me into the life at Bamfylde and I was eager to find out how things evolved over time. Only the last couple of chapters felt a bit rushed, even if they were drawing the book to a full circle. ( )
  mari_reads | Sep 7, 2019 |
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The guard at Exeter warned him he would have to change at Dulverton to pick up the westbound train to Bamfylde Bridge Halt, the nearest railhead to the school, but did not add that the wait between trains was an hour.
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Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:

"R.F. Delderfield is a born storyteller." ?? Sunday Mirror

To Serve Them All My Days is the moving saga of David Powlett-Jones, who returns from World War I injured and shell-shocked. He is hired to teach history at Bamfylde School, where he rejects the formal curriculum and teaches the causes and consequences of the Great War.

Eventually David earns the respect of his students and many of his fellow teachers, against the backdrop of a country struggling to redefine itself. As David falls in love and finds himself on track to possibly take on the headmaster role, he must search to find the strength to hold true to his beliefs as the specter of another great war looms.

To Serve Them All My Days is a brilliant picture of England between the World Wars, as the country comes to terms with the horrors of the Great War and the new forces reshaping the British government and society.

Subject of a Landmark BBC Miniseries

Includes Bonus Reading Group Guide

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:

"Mr. Delderfield's manner is easy, modest, heartwarming."??Evening Standard
"He built an imposing artistic social history that promises to join those of his great forebears in the long, noble line of the English novel. His narratives belong in a tradition that goes back to John Galsworthy and Arnold Bennett."??Life Magazine
"Sheer, wonderful storytelling."??Chicago Tribune
"Highly recommended. Combines tension with a splendid sense of atmosphere and vivid characterisation. An excellent read." ??Sunday E

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