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Peace Breaks Out

3.42  ·  Rating Details ·  880 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
The best John Knowles has given us since A Separate Peace, and if you remember that book you will not want to miss this one. John Barkham Reviews
Pete is a sensitive, handsome young war hero. Wexford is a defiant, scheming troublemaker. Their lives collide in the uneasy days of peace after World War II as senior year at the Devon School changes from a time of friendships
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 5th 1997 by Bantam (first published 1981)
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I really liked this. I liked it more than A Separate Peace, in fact. The characters were compelling (I particularly liked Pete) and the plot and idea of the boys who "missed out" on WW2 is a fascinating one that I had never considered before. I wish that it would have had one or two more chapters--there were some loose ends that I would have liked a little more closure.

Overall, this was a really good book that will stick with me for some time.
Jul 25, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Overall, the novel is not nearly as compelling and the characters are not nearly as believable as Finny and Gene were from "A Separate Peace." However, I believe that the concepts that the author is asking his readers to consider are not only much overlooked and worth pondering, that the semi-weak backdrop of the novel excuses it. Of all the war novels, none I have ever read contends with the boys who were a year or two young to fight what had been indoctrinated to believe was the good fight. Th ...more
Oct 25, 2009 Joy marked it as to-read
I didn't know there was a sequel to A Separate Peace (one of my favorite books from high school) so I'm happy to see this.
Jul 27, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it
They make a reference to Finny in this book!

Not quite as powerful as A Separate Peace, but the ending haunted me. Good book for the summer.
May 31, 2014 Lara rated it it was amazing
Wow, a lot of folks didn't like this one, did they? It differs quite a bit from A Separate Peace (post-war, told mostly from the perspective of a teacher rather than one of the boys at the school), but in my mind that's a good thing. Also I think maybe some folks were expecting this to be a direct sequel to A Separate Peace, but it's really more of a companion novel.

Anyway, the main idea is that the war has ended and here are all these boys who have spent the last five years assuming the war is
Jul 26, 2010 Crissy rated it liked it
A Separate Peace by John Knowles is my favorite book, so it's hard to have his follow up match that. Still a good book.
Marsh Myers
Oct 13, 2015 Marsh Myers rated it really liked it
If you’ve ever sat through a high school language arts class, you are probably familiar with John Knowles's novel, A Separate Peace (ASP). It’s been promoted reading since it was first published in 1959. Less known, however, is the follow-up novel, Peace Breaks Outs (PBO), which is set three years after the events in ASP.

The book returns the reader to the Devon School, a prestigious all-boys academy located in rural New Hampshire. Pete Hallam is a disabled veteran and a former student who’s just
Nicolas Shump
Jan 11, 2009 Nicolas Shump rated it it was ok
Having long dreamed of attending a prep school like Exeter that Knowles fictionalizes in both A Separate Peace and Peace Breaks Out, I recently re-read A Separate Peace and read Peace Breaks Out for the first time this spring. As an aside, I don't know if it is possible for former Exonians to write about their school without an undercurrent of death. In addition to Knowles, John Irving has written at least two novels, The World According to Garp and A Widow for One Year that are all partially se ...more
Jun 25, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea M
Apr 18, 2013 Chelsea M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading others' reviews, it seems that many were hoping for something similar to A Separate Peace. This is probably the wrong mindset to read this novel. True, the two novels are set in the same "universe" - a couple of minor characters are re-used here and there are passing mentions of (view spoiler), but this is a completely different novel.

I thought that the novel was written well. Its themes spoke to me, and I always like complex characters and ambiguous moralit
Florence Primrose
Mar 17, 2013 Florence Primrose rated it really liked it
Peace Breaks Out follows Knowles' earlier book, A Separate Peace. Pete Hallam, an injured WWII veteran, returns to his prep school in New Hampshire to teach. But, boys are very different for the way they were when Pete was in school.

These students have spent the past five years during the war thinking of how exciting the war would be. They had hoped to participate on an exciting manner. They are consumed by guilt for not having served.

An sooty and then hatred develops between two students in Pet
Jun 28, 2013 Pete rated it really liked it
Like seeing an old friend after not seeing him for 15 years and realizing with a bit of a shock that he actually did age and is not just as he was when you last met, Peace Breaks Out was the follow up to one of my ninth grade favorites, A Separate Peace that took me back to that world, but was just a little slower, flabbier and deflated than its predecessor. I liked it, mind you, but what I was hoping for wasn't fair: to be moved the way I was when 14, while having 15 more years of life experien ...more
Dec 07, 2007 Steven rated it it was amazing
A Separate Peace by John Knowles is one of my favorite books. I read it many years ago and after reading this book by Knowles, I remember why. Set in post world war II at the same private school, Devon, that was in the first book, A graduate of Devon returns from war and takes a teaching position at Devon. In this masterpiece, Mr. Knowles demonstrates the making of a despot. The concept is so astute, so subtle, so well done, and the writing so pristine that I am astounded. Briliant! Brilliant! B ...more
Aug 20, 2008 HRH rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who read A Separate Peace
This book is the sequel to A Separate Peace which is basically bomb. This book has the same great aspects -- descriptive writing, poignant setting, the inquisition into the human heart -- which is exactly why it was ho-hum. It was a lot like the first book, even down to the climax of an "accidental" death. I got the point of A Separate Peace. Peace Breaks Out had a different point which I didn't get. Also it ended on a down note, a short essay on how the world's really horrible people were once ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Ivan rated it really liked it
although less subtle and more predictable than "a separate peace," i liked this book just as much if not more. interestingly, knowles' themes of internal war and 'in the absence of an enemy one is created,' are more stirring set in the so-called post-war 'peace.' The fact that the book was published in 1981 also gave the author the useful tool of hindsight and the knowledge of the conflicts that brewed and blew up in the decades after WWII, making the story more resonant for readers born long af ...more
Shuhei Miwa
Apr 20, 2011 Shuhei Miwa rated it liked it
I read John Knowles book which is A Separate Peace last summer, also this book wrote by John Knowles. This story has some similarity of setting with A Separate Peace therefore I was compare with A Separate Peace and this books when I read a story.
The setting of this story is World War II which is same as A Separate Peace. The main character is Pete Hallam who is the hero of athletic war.
I felt boring when I was reading this book, and I think A Separate Peace is better than this book.
Jan 17, 2009 Olivia rated it liked it
This book is darker than A Separate Peace. For me, it is not as lovable, but it is still as interesting. Peace Breaks Out is the closing bookend to World War II while A Separate Peace is the opening. I love how Knowles addresses the aftermath effects of war: the boys in the book are the senior class just when the war has ended, so they have just missed it. Yet their internal issues are no less significant than those found in A Separate Peace. As always, the writing is excellent.
Jun 23, 2007 stephanie rated it really liked it
most people don't even know that knowles wrote another book. this book only peripherally mentions what happened in A Separate Peace, but it is strikingly familiar. i read it the first time with a notebook, to write down my favorite passages - it ended up incredibly long. his writing matured in this book, and it's too bad the story isn't more well read, because it truly is excellent.
Aug 13, 2008 Randi rated it it was amazing
The sequel to A Separate Peace. In this book, the war has ended and all of these boys who are graduating are really confused as to where their lives are supposed to go. They spent their entire adolescence planning on going to war and serving their country and now that this plan has been thrown out, they feel lost. Fantastic book.
Not quite a sequel but rather a companion novel to A Separate Peace, which I read as a teenager and I know many of my peers were assigned in school. Not as striking or engaging as I remember A Separate Peace being, but a stark look at the assumptions and realities of what is right, what is wrong and what those assumptions can lead to.
Matthew Dexter
Aug 11, 2013 Matthew Dexter rated it liked it
Like "A Separate Peace" this is decent prep school pontification into a fictitious realm, but nothing near the authenticity of "The Ritalin Orgy" or "The Catcher in the Rye"; and even "Prep" and "Old School" are better than this boarding school imagination as derived from the brain of Knowles.

Jun 23, 2015 Ann rated it did not like it
Shelves: owned
Horrible! Obviously written only for the $$. It might be unfair to compare this book to A Separate Peace, but it's hard not to: that book is good, this one sucks. Knowles obviously tries to recreate a similar homosocial connection between the two characters in Peace Breaks Out, but it lacks the finesse of his first.
Marlene Debo
Mar 18, 2014 Marlene Debo rated it liked it
Not as good as "A Separate Peace" -- but how many books are that good? This is the sequel though. So I had a vested interest in reading it. Glad I did. Glad I didn't read this one first... This takes place at the school after the war is over. Explores the effects of the war on Devon's students who did not serve in the war --- after the war is over.

Amy Krohn
Feb 08, 2014 Amy Krohn rated it it was amazing
Another excellent John Knowles book. This one explores post-war American boys at Devon preparatory school... these are the boys who grew up hearing all about the war and just as they were nearing enlistment age, the war ended. At least, it technically ended. The war still sends out its death-rays, even into peaceful New England.
Aug 07, 2014 Phlegethon rated it liked it
Personally I thought this was nearly as good a read as 'Separate Peace' - a tiny quibble would be the charactersiation of Wexford, which is a touch two-dimensional. Otherwise, I thought it was excellent - just as elegantly plotted, and with the same richly felt descriptions of people and places, as the prequel. I'm looking forward to reading more of John Knowles.
Mar 25, 2013 TrumanCoyote rated it it was ok
Not really much of a novel--more like several short stories sewn together; and only the long penultimate chapter really seemed like it could stand on its own. Also adding to this impression is the frequent repetitiousness--and I'm afraid the constant harping on Big Issues only tends to underscore the lack of such involvement in the story itself.
Even though this is a sequel, you can fully enjoy this book without ever reading A Separate Peace. The setting and themes are the only things that carry over.

A soldier's perspectives of life after the war are juxtaposed with those of the young boys who never fought. It addresses what makes a hero, what makes a villain, and the concept of a war to end all wars. It’s very good, I recommend it.
Apr 09, 2007 Jeanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
Sequel to A Separate Peace, boy returns as teacher after the war, teaches history, gets involved with a fight between two boys, one a Nazi sympathizer, the other an unpopular ambitious boy. The one sets up the toher and lets other boys assume the Nazi boy damaged a window in remembrance of WWII alumni deaths. Boy dies of weak heart.
Mandi Bean
Jun 16, 2012 Mandi Bean rated it liked it
I thought it was a decent novel. It was not nearly as captivating or engaging as "A Separate Peace," but the ending was very intriguing. It was incredibly cynical and hopeless which was surprising considering the tone of the rest of the work.
Aug 07, 2014 Megan rated it liked it
I picked this up at the used bookstore recently because I remember being very moved by A Separate Peace when I read it in high school. I found this one a little harder to enjoy, but certainly compelling. Maybe a couple too many POVs for my taste.
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John Knowles (September 16, 1926 - November 29, 2001), b. Fairmont, West Virginia, was an American novelist, best known for his novel A Separate Peace.

A 1945 graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, Knowles graduated from Yale University as a member of the class of 1949W. A Separate Peace is based upon Knowles' experiences at Exeter during the summer of 1943. The setting f
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“Most of the students there, he said, don't know what they think. You tell 'em, they'll think it. I plan to tell 'em.” 9 likes
“This is a school,' said Pete in his level voice. 'All views can be expressed and considered here. We're not indoctrinating you.'

Yes, well,' Hochschwender replied coolly, 'that's a matter of point of view.”
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