The First Day on the Somme

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Penguin Books Limited, 1992 - History - 365 pages

Martin Middlebrook's The First Day on the Somme is a compelling and intensely moving account of the blackest day in the history of the British army.

On 1 July, 1916, a continuous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk slowly towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by thick barbed wire. By the end of that day, as old tactics were met by the reality of modern warfare, there had been more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatalities.

As well as drawing on official sources, local newspapers, autobiographies, novels and poems from the time, most importantly The First Day on the Somme also takes in the accounts of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror.

The First Day on the Somme describes the true events behind one of the largest battles of the First World War, and the sacrifice of a generation of young men - killed as much by the folly of their commanders as by the bullets of their enemies.

'The soldiers receive the best service a historian can provide: their story is told in their own words'
Guardian

'A particularly vivid and personal narrative'
The Times Literary Supplement

Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of many important books on military history including The Kaiser's Battle - March 1918, The Falklands War - 1982.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Whiskey3pa - LibraryThing

Excellent book. Well written and full of first person accounts. The courage of the troops was remarkable and the mediocrity of the leadership sad. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gommecourt - LibraryThing

Middlebrook's seminal work on the first day of the battle of the Somme. Based on his own interviews with dozens of survivors of the fighting it is informative, emotional, gripping, exhausting and an ... Read full review

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About the author (1992)

Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of many important books on military history including THE KAISER'S BATTLE - MARCH 1918 , THE FALKLANDS WAR - 1982.

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