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Forgotten Voices of the Somme: The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  103 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Drawing on a wealth of material from the vast Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, 'Forgotten Voices of the Somme' presents an intimate, harsh but often poignant insight into life on the front line: from the day-to-day struggle of extraordinary circumstances to the white heat of battle and the constant threat of injury or death.
Hardcover, 285 pages
Published 2008 by Ebury Press
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Rebecca
"No one can describe what the Battle of the Somme was really like unless they were there. It was one continuous stream of wounded and dead and dying. You had to forget all sentiment. It was a case of getting on with the job." - Private H.D. Jackson, 75th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (p. 124)

"While I was on the Somme, life was absolutely miserable. After that, I was never the same man again. I was always looking to see how I could get away from the dangers. I wanted to live. I was ne
...more
Kelly
Oct 28, 2015 Kelly rated it really liked it
This book is hard-going, not because the writing is bad but because the truth of the war is so hard hitting. I found myself becoming overcome with anger most of the time and questioning why, so many lives were taken, but I was also in awe of the sheer bravery and nonchalant attitude of many of the soldiers. It took me a while to complete this simply because of the immense feelings I had for it, it is an incredible book and an important one for everyone to read to show that there was barely any b ...more
zoe
Jan 10, 2009 zoe rated it liked it
I learned quite a bit about The Battle of The Somme; from the mouths of those who fought it so I felt far more fulfilling and touching than reading the facts and figures as if from a school textbook.
I found it satisfying, in some parts disturbing, and in some parts I actually found myself laughing for the wit of some men. Petrified some of them may have been but they never lost their spirit.
Hands down to them all, and I feel somewhat lucky to have read about it from their points of view.

Chrystyna
Feb 22, 2016 Chrystyna rated it it was amazing
Forgotten Voices of The Somme - Very Good

Had to take my time with this book so as to take it all in. Also as I found various sections quite harrowing and needed the odd break.

I'm not a particularly emotional person, rarely cry, but this brought tears to my eyes at times. Equally, I've never experienced that phrase 'makes the blood run cold' before, but I have now. Some of the accounts are horrific. As to the bravery of these men, you can hardly imagine how they faced up to the conditions and wha
...more
Adam
Apr 11, 2016 Adam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The ordinary voices of ordinary men gives an intimacy to this horrific moment in time, an intimacy that many a learned historian would be unable to articulate no matter how much understanding and knowledge that they possessed.

Some of these recollections are full of pathos, others make you despair about the state of humanity, others will make you weep for the fates of individual men, and others are tales of terror and carnage told in the most matter-of-fact and mundane way possible.

I've read a fe
...more
Zoe
Apr 06, 2015 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating and throughly captivating book about the Battle of the Somme from the men who witnessed and fought it. The stories some of these men had to tell were interesting to say the least - not all of them were doom and gloom. There was a lot of camaraderie and trust.

I learnt a lot about the battle from this book and it was far more interesting than reading a text book style book full of facts and figures.

I actually found myself laughing at some parts of the book through the wit the
...more
Richard
Jun 19, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it
A great series drawing on the oral archives of the Somme survivors. Grim, poignant but at times funny and irreverent too.

Very British-orientated, with the odd German or French voice dotted in. No mention of the thousands of Kiwis (including my Great Uncle, killed in action, no known grave) who were casualties there.

Real people, vignettes of a horrific battle beyond the reach of living memory now.
AskHistorians
A relatively easy read but with plenty of information and first hand accounts from the soldiers who fought during the Battle of the Somme, including in-depth and bloody accounts of the first day. This is a book I would highly recommend for anybody who is researching the war from the perspective of the soldiers.
Simon
Aug 20, 2013 Simon rated it it was amazing
Breaking my usual e-books-where-possible rule, I picked this up in a 2nd hand bookshop for 2. I've read this in bite-size portions over the last few months as a very easy book to pick up from where you left off.

The book tells the battle of the somme directly from the mouths of the soldiers. A thought-provoking and stimulating read, and never dull. Small snippets of text packing all the power and detail of a short story, ocassionally tinged with dry humour and always delivered in a matter-of-fact
...more
Shaun Major
Jan 15, 2016 Shaun Major rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It lacks the immediacy of the recent podcast series from IWM, however this is is still a remarkable collection of thoughts and observations from men who were young and went to the Great War
William Freeman
Jul 04, 2015 William Freeman rated it really liked it
Very sad and powerful read one cannot begin to imagine the horrors of trench warfare. The different points of view the stories of luck and survival and the constant back in the mind why did this happen.
Peter
May 03, 2014 Peter added it
Shelves: adult
Unbelievable what these young men went through. Horrific waste of life.
Matt
Apr 08, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love these forgotten voices series they really bring to life the conflicts and times they cover, not just with fact and figure but with all aspects of life and humour often dark that's needed to get through those situations! Well worth a read to get a true all round account of life in the trenches.
It shows every thing from incompetence of officers to pure heroics of the men and women.
Lauren Carnell
This book is an interesting read- to experience the battle of war in the words written by the very men who fought for our world. It is a depressing read- as it is very real- but so worth the effort!
Layne
May 10, 2015 Layne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Well there's not really much to be said after reading this, just that I cried quite a bit. Such a sad and inexcusable part of history.
Redyager
Jul 26, 2013 Redyager rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book, great accounts of what these men went through on a daily basis
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