The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War
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The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  14 reviews
From one of our most distinguished historians, an authoritative and vivid account of the devastating World War I battle that claimed more than 300,000 lives

At 7:30 am on July 1, 1916, the first Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches along the Somme River in France and charged out into no-man’s-land toward the barbed wire and machine guns at the German front lines.
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published June 27th 2006)
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This book was very good in providing first hand accounts of the conditions the soldiers fought in and the horrors they saw and had to endure. The book gives a good overview of the Battle of the Somme and does not way you down with to many fine details. It in forms you about the movements of each battalion and division and what battles they fought in. It is packed with facts about the number of artillery pieces each side had and how many were wounded or died in each assault or defense. Gilbert al...more
From July to Nov of 1916 this ill advised battle claimed over a million young lives. The book is literally a collection of first person accounts of the total savagery of "The Great War" The Somme distinctly becomes a testimonial monument to the brutalization of soldiers under the command of delusional old men, who after multiple attempts (Ypres, Gallipoli) continue to harbor visions of massive "breakthroughs" on the trench warfare battleground, and sacrifice massive human life in their pursuit...more
Feb 15, 2008 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Michael K. gave it to me as a cast gift
The story of the Allies' offensive from July to November, 1916 in the region of the River Somme, told largely from Britain's point of view.

This was an battle of staggering magnitude: there is a memorial at Thiepval to honor only British and South Africans killed there who have no known grave, and they number 73,335. That is to say, more than all American dead from the entire Vietnam War.

Such a strange war, which saw the first widespread use of aircraft and tanks, the last general use of horse ca...more
This is not a regular military history of a battle,more of a human story of men in battle. Every soldier mentioned in the narrative has his grave or name on which memorial mentioned. This book gives you the facts of the battle but mixed with poetry and diary extracts makes it all the more human.

The staggering day one british forces death toll of 19,240 is still the most shocking thing of it all.
I was at the O2 in london recently watching Iron Maiden.If all the people in the O2 had been on the So...more
Glyn Longden
Rating: 6/10. I think I might have rated this book too high. It's a pretty conventional account of the preparation and execution of the Somme campaign in WWI told from the British side. I've probably read a dozen books on this battle. One of the formations he keys in on is the Newfoundland regiment and its decimation on July 1st and that was quite interesting. My impression is that this book was a 'knock-off' to make a few bucks between the author's well-known Churchill volumes.
This book was sad,interesting, and a great memorial for the soldiers who fought and died at the Somme. See my full review on my blog:
Although depressing in many ways, the tales of ordinary people being killed in an absolutely futile enterprise are relentless, I thought this was an excellent book which genuinely eviles images of what life as a WW1 soldier must have been like.

Such aprajic waste.
Jerry Teipen
Gilbert was a little too focused on providing statistical information rather than fleshing out the experience...very informative nonetheless.
Excellent. Very heart wrenching in the juxtapostion of the individual experience of the battle carnage with larger battle experience
Adam DeVille, Ph.D.
The depressing and gratuitous slaughter of the Somme is recounted here by a premiere historian. Sad and infuriating to read.
Cannonhistory Potter
Puts into perspective the Lions led by Donkeys perception of the bloodiest battle in Britain's long military history.
A moving history of the battle by a super historian told through the writings of soldiers and generals.
Horror is mild. It's hard to believe that men would endure the hell that was trench warfare.
A good but depressing book about the battle of the Somme in World War I.
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Sir Martin John Gilbert is a British historian and Fellow of Merton College, University of Oxford. He is the author of over eighty books, including works on the Holocaust and Jewish history. Gilbert is a leading historian of the modern world, and is known as the official biographer of Sir Winston Churchill.
More about Martin Gilbert...
Churchill: A Life The First World War: A Complete History The Holocaust The Second World War: A Complete History Israel: A History

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