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Journey's End (Heinemann Plays)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,828 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Journey's End
Hardcover, 114 pages
Published January 15th 1993 by Heinemann (first published December 1929)
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Karen I found a 1988 TV adaptation available on YouTube which I thought was very faithful to the play and quite good overall. If you haven't found it yet,…moreI found a 1988 TV adaptation available on YouTube which I thought was very faithful to the play and quite good overall. If you haven't found it yet, here is the link:
I believe this was Jeremy Northam's first major TV appearance and I thought he was excellent. Timothy Spall is also in it, playing Trotter.(less)

Community Reviews

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Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Journey's End is considered a classic of First World War literature now, but at the time, it was rejected by almost every producer in the West End (‘How can I put on a play with no leading lady?’ one manager complained, providing Sherriff with the title to his future autobiography). It finally secured a pitiful two-night run at the Apollo in December of 1928, where it had the great good fortune to feature an unknown twenty-one-year-old actor in the lead role – one Laurence Olivier. It, and he, n
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Journey's End" - R.C. Sherriff’s short (96 page), 1928 play about a group of officers in the trenches shortly before a German offensive - is very much of its time, and yet remains profoundly moving.

R.C. Sherriff wrote the play based on his own experiences, and appears to have no particular axe to grind - neither anti-war, nor patriotic - with its primary focus on the toll placed on the young officers and the working class soldiers thrown into such a horrific situation.

18 year old, Second Lieute
“You must always think of it like that if you can. Think of it as – as romantic. It helps.”

This review is going to be a quick one because it’s impossible to really go into depth without spoiling the story.
I don’t normally read plays because they seem to unleash a wave of high school-related memories and trying to think of quotes and line numbers and acts and basically getting myself into a tizzy.
But I love the theatre and I’ve wanted to read Journey’s End for a while now because I’ve heard it
David Corvine
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Filling a gap in my reading. Kept falling prey to the idea that it was rather clichéd but of course it is those, Blackadder Goes Forth etc, which are guilty of this. Some plays do not make for good reading... this isn't one of them and when combined with the fact that it was based on the author's own experiences it's a very impressive piece of work. I had been intending to read it since becoming aware that "I" in Withnail and I had his haircut for a part in a production of it.
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have just put down this classic WWI play by R.C. Sherriff, and I swear that for all intents and purposes I'm still in that officers' dug-out in Flanders while the noise and smoke of a concentrated enemy bombardment steadily increase in intensity. And it occurs to me that my intention of writing any sort of review is presumptuous at best. How can I be qualified to comment on life in the trenches, or know for sure what it must have been like to lead a daytime raid into no-man's-land with a stiff ...more
Tom Clarke
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ks4, plays
Having studied this play at school when I was fifteen, I'm now gearing up to teach it to my own students. Before I read it again, I remember being irked by how some of the officers in this WWI play spoke: 'jolly', 'spiffing', 'rather!' and 'topping' are used considerably. But once you get past this (and remember it was written in the twenties), it's a play full of drama and a study of the British "stiff upper lip". Sherriff is a master of the pause and leaves so much unsaid by the soldiers to ea ...more
Christina Farhat
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
3. 400. 1,ooo. are all just numbers, but after a battle they represent the number of men who lost their lives fighting for their country. Do we really take into consideration the story of each of those men? Do we think of how each of their parents felt after losing thier child? This book depics the utter horror experiences by millions, simply with the story of a couple men.
Although this play was meant to be watched, It was one of the very few scripts that serves as a page-turning story. As I am
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Warning: if you are looking for tales of heroism, sound battle strategies and the underlying theme of how sweet and noble it is to die for one's country, then this is not the book for you.
But if you are looking for the more human side of war: the fears, the tension, the friendships and how much the front can change a man, then you would do well to give this play a try.
I don't know what rating to give this. All I can say is that if one of my non-reader friends really likes this play then that is saying something.

I also liked the story because whilst there was nothing going on in the way of action inside the trenches, it was very character driven. Their interactions prove the volatility of war and how it affects their inter-personal relationships.

To me the short length of this play is indicative of how short a life some soldiers had on the frontline. It is an
Leah Lazar
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

I did enjoy it, but I think mainly because it was for school rather than my own idea. Raleigh's relationship with Stanhope towards the end of the book was possibly the most enjoyable part of the whole thing. Not usually my cup of tea, but is definitely a book I'm glad I read.
Mr. Muesli
Feb 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I was assigned this book in preparation for Literature IGCSE (Though in the end I decided not take the exam, but I did not regret having Literature as a subject).

Journey's End let us glimpse at the life in the trenches--and it was horrifying. I love the idea that it easily takes us to the battlefield, watching all the horrible things that we never face in our lives. I remembered sitting in the back of the class and imagining myself being one of the men, hands trembling towards the gun at the sli
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who would go to see the play in production
Recommended to Leah by: My Teacher - Mr Andrews
Shelves: school-texts
I enjoyed the read; which was done as a class together, studying for our AS English Literature. Better than the other play we read and of course, much more powerful on stage. I detested having to pronounce Raleigh as 'Rawley'.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that I liked this book. I enjoyed the characters and it was wonderful quote-wise to see how Stanhope's character developes. It is even more hitting when seen on stage, as you see how quickly the men can turn from laughter to anger. The end
Lana Maria
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love this book. This is a type of play I'll die to see. This left me into tears, because Osbourne and Raileigh are my two favorite characters in the story and they both die. This book really shows World War I in detail. It really shows the lives in the trenches, how hard and they should be strategic all the time. Stanhope is the commander and I don't blame him for drinking too much because 90% of the commanders (in France and Britain) were drunk almost everyday. Truly this is a marv ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
So yes, you've heard this story before and, yes, you know where it is going but there is no denying the power of a play that was written by a man who experienced this monstrous war first hand; who knew, intimately, the claustrophobia, the intolerable waiting, the sudden burst of action and the catastrophic consequences for the living and the dead.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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Emily Boycott
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cette pièce, très resserrée, se déroule entièrement dans un abri de tranchée occupé par les officiers d'une compagnie britannique pendant les trois jours qui précèdent la contre-offensive allemande de mars 1918.
Dans une économie de moyens assez extraordinaire, l'auteur parvient à montrer l'impossibilité de la guerre en général, et de celle-ci en particulier. Les personnages sont merveilleusement bien écrits et les dialogues, tout en retenue, sont parfaitement ciselés.

5 étoiles ne sont pas assez
Yeshmanthi Ekanayake
Oct 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
A most heartbreaking and sad story. The characters became a part of me as I went on reading--a quality that all writers can't achieve.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Journey's end” is set in towards end of the great war in 1998. It was probably one of the best books i have read .I thought it was very interesting and loved every page and incident. It had changed my mind about the lives in the trenches because i imagined it to be chaotic and not the least bit peaceful.The main characters, Stanhope,Osbourne,and Raleigh have such an impact on the story line and are such unique characters that are quite cryptic and hard to figure out. Especially Stanhope who se ...more
Rachel Hirstwood
I picked this book up thinking it was a short novel, but actually, it turned out to be a play, first performed in 1928, and starring Lawrence Olivier! It takes play in a dug out on the front line in WW1, and features 5 officers, and their cook. To begin with there are 4 officers, and they await a replacement. They put their hopes on a new recruit, because they are wet behind the ears and keen. They get a new recruit, but the commander, Stanhope, gets a surprise when a family friend, and one time ...more
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Journey's End" left me in tears and in a state of shock. I loved every minute of this play! It had a slow beginning but by the middle of Act 1, I was hooked. Stanhope, a troubled army leader who has change his ways since coming out of school, is taken aback by a new soldier, Raleigh, whom he knew from his school. Stanhope is an interesting character that somehow changes for the better through the play, something I think is triggered by Raleigh. Osbourne was probably my favourite character as he ...more
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I like this book but I think it would have been better if it wasn't a play. I like Stanhope's Character he's a strong and determined man ,he sometimes gets of his track but then again everyone does especially since he's in the middle of the Great War. I liked Lieutenant Trotter because he kept the whole team a bit optimistic . Trotter didn't really impose his problems with the rest of the team instead he reminded them of peace and home. I Feel that Osborne is the wise man out of the bunch even t ...more
First of all, I loved this book a lot more than I thought I would! I rarely read plays. In fact, the last play that I read for enjoyment was The Crucible, which I read in 2014. While this play was technically required reading, I chose to read it during the Easter holidays in preparation for my English Literature exam. And, as I said before, I loved it!

This play is action-packed, humourous and heart breaking! Sherriff's characters are wonderful, especially Stanhope and Osborne, whom I really grew
Philip Tucker
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though nowadays one feels as if they've seen it all before (especially through progreammes such as Blackadder), in 1929 when Sherriff wrote it, I guess that this little play was a real revelation - the innocence of youth ruined within days of arrival at the front. We are shown a young officer's plight: leaving the school rugby team, going to officer training and then straight to the horror of the trenches, with the looming, imminent prospect of going over the top for spurious reasons and to achi ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This drama was great! I'm not used to read classics or anything,and I've never read anything about the first world war because I wasn't attracted to it, but I really enjoyed this one!

It is set in the WW1 in the trenches while we are following 4days of officer's life.
Stanhope is such a complex character and he's the commander of his company. I was attached to him,he knew how to touch me. My personal favourites were Raleigh and Osbourne. I had a crush on Raleigh I have to admit and Osbourne was l
Rama Tinawi
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Although the book was short, it was very enjoyable, and very easy to read. The reader learns a lot about life at war, and the images that the author gave were so vivid. The book showed the reader how bad the state is living in the trenches, with millions of rats and bugs, and how dirty the trenches were. Also, Sherriff describes how uncomfortable the beds are.
When I first found out that Raleigh knew Stanhope, I found it very coincidental, and so did they. I thought, maybe there is something beh
'You know Raleigh you mustn't expect to find him-quite the same.'

There are vast stretches of completely emotionless, stunted dialogue in this book but the flashes of raw emotion that punctuate this silence are incredibly potent.

This book isn't really four stars, there is too much about it that is rather uninspiring however those small snatches, which showed the complexity and the tragedy of the human condition, made it so much more than three stars.

Also being a play, I feel that I may be jud
Andrew Hill
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A powerful evocation of the tragedy of the first world war, Journey's End remains deeply moving. It is a compact drama and features little of the conventional structure of tragedy. It depicts a few days on the front line of the British army, just prior to the German offensive in the spring of 1918. The arrival of a new, young officer sets things in motion, but the play does not really tell a story, or at least the story isn't the point.

This play is about friendship, courage, cowardice, death, a
Sean Ragan
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
An extremely competent stage play that is notable for its historical significance: its debut in 1928 marked a cultural sea change in the popular perception of war. It also premiered with a young Olivier in the lead and helped propel him to stardom.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-culture
I read this because my son was reading it for high school. R.C . Sherriff wrote way before my time (1929) and frankly, I had never heard of this playwright. I imagine, that contemporaneously, the play added to the growing body of literature/art that decried the senselessness of WW I. I can imagine that as art, it was a provocative challenge to the establishment's view of honor and national dignity displayed during the Great War.

However, to a 21st century reader, imbued with 90 years worth of me
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Robert Cedric Sherriff was an English writer best known for his play Journey's End which was based on his experiences as a Captain in World War I. He wrote several plays, novels, and screenplays, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and two British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

More about R.C. Sherriff...

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“stay here and see it through with the rest of us. HIBBERT: I shall die of this pain if I don't go! STANHOPE: Better die of the pain than be shot for deserting. HIBBERT [in a low voice ]: What do you mean? STANHOPE: You know what I mean – HIBBERT: I've a right to see the doctor!” 0 likes
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