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Peace Breaks Out

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  79 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 into a stunning drama of tragic betrayal.

With the unforgettable power and simplicity that made A Separate Peace into a modern classic, this master
Paperback, 178 pages
Published March 5th 1997 by Bantam (first published 1981)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  1,013 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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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 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
Colton Massey
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an abhorrent tragedy that this wonderful novel hasn't achieved a fraction of the praise and popularity that Knowles' earlier work A Separate Peace did. Upon reading the final page of Knowles' most well-known novel, I knew that I was hooked on his writing. Elation filled me when I discovered that he had authored another novel that took place at the same school, I had to read it.

Returning to Devon was a marvel of an experience. Knowles' prose cultivates such a vivid atmosphere that, at times
Nov 07, 2011 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
Oct 25, 2009 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 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.
Jul 26, 2010 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.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a clear example of an author at the peak of his powers; John Knowles' prose is precise and simple. The ideas in this novel are some that have not been explored in other novels focusing on post-war traumas that I have read. Knowles explores the feelings of the young men who just missed being involved in World War II and hold a deep sense of regret/anger at not having been able to help their country fight against fascism. The characters here are well fleshed out and fascinating. Wexf ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a scholar of John Knowles, having only read 'A Separate Peace' many years ago. Since I've read no other reviews of this novel, I don't know if it is considered derivative of his earlier work or a very fresh approach. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed "Peace Breaks Out", With its theme about troubled male youth, this book fits in nicely with "Catcher in the Rye", "Lord of the Flies" and several John Irving novels. Like the other authors, Knowles excels at identifying the things that make y ...more
Ian Connel
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garth Mailman
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m reading an Open Library scan again. Either superior software was used or someone took the time to edit the text.

Pete Hallam returns from war in 1945 to teach at the Devon School. As he unpacks old photos he mulls over his own wounds and friends and brother lost. His younger brother dead, team mates from hockey dead, injured in body and mind. Nothing dates a book more than a colleague’s wife addressed by her husband’s name rather than her own Christian Name.

Pete sounds like the kind of histor
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
"A Separate Peace" was a seminal book in my early 20s and this book takes place in the same school in the semester just after WW2 ended. Like its predecessor, it involves a conflict between a group of students. These boys are not as innocent as the ones in the earlier book, being hardened by the carnage around them and emotionally upset by not being able to participate in the victory. This novel is much more cynical and the ending lingers in the memory. It is a gripping read and even a great one ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Powerful,interesting and beautiful book. Its low rating here on goodreads misrepresents it, and yet it is not as good as "A separate peace", which is one of my absolute favorites. These two novels show what a masterful writer John Knowles is.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
First time I have read a John Knowles novel with less than a five star rating but would have abandoned this except for respect for its author
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit of a slow burn. Examines the toll war takes on all involved—and those who weren't. I think I liked this better than A Separate Peace.
Elke Koepping
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Marvellous. Well-told, thoughtful reflection of the young generation after the war. It was also interesting to read about the Nazi-supporters on the other side of the atlantic.
Sarah Lyons
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In Peace Breaks Out, Knowles returns to idyllic setting of the Devon school. And while it isn't A Separate Peace, it's an intriguing tale concerning the darkness of man (or, rather, young men). It entertains what war can do to the unsettled youth--who were raised in the shadow of war but then stripped of its mystic allure with its sudden end. Cheated and plagued with some need to be a part of some peace--some fight--they create their own strife.

Originally, I rated the book four stars; however, t
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
I read this to get that same vibe as A Separate Peace and I was disappointed.
Marsh Myers
May 16, 2013 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
Bailey Peyton
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicolas Shump
Jan 11, 2009 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 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea M
Mar 25, 2013 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 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
Sep 06, 2007 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
Jul 12, 2008 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 18, 2008 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
Jun 28, 2013 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
Jan 17, 2009 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.
Shuhei Miwa
Apr 20, 2011 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.
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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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