Olivier's Reviews > The Somme

The Somme by Robin Prior
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's review
Jun 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: history

I got this book thinking it would be a narrative of the events of an important moment in British and WW1 history. I was really looking to see how events of WW1 had impacted Britain and how these traumatic events would have shaped the mood and direction of English society since. I stand corrected. Instead, I find this to be a highly detailed, information and interesting analysis of the battle strictly from the point of view of modern warfare. It was totally unexpected AND, in a rare instant, a rather pleasant surprise. The analysis falls nothing short of comprehensive, systematic and very well reasoned - perhaps detailed in a way few other battle in history have been painstakingly dissected.

Yes, this is the wrong book to read to get a feel of the battlefield from the point of view of its participants. Instead, people who want to know how history is shaped (or changed; or refocused) by little nuances in the personalities, nuances, the "ticks" that those in "control" can have on history. This is also the wrong book to read if one is not interested in details. This volume is highly detailed - in a good & informative way.

These days, we are bombarded by phenomenon of the centennial of the sinking of the Titanic, plus the impact on our TV-viewing by the fictional miniseries "Downton Abbey" and, the novel (as well as the film adaptation) "Birdsong." It is interesting to note how more interesting and intriguing those topics now appear when seen in the light and context of reading and knowing details of this horrific, yet pivotal event in modern British history.

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