- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Holt Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 29, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805083014
- ISBN-13: 978-0805083019
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,311,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Somme: Heroism and Horror in the First World War Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The four-month–long battle of the Somme epitomized the futile bloodletting on the western front, with 19,000 advancing British soldiers killed by the Germans on the very first day. From the impersonality of this mechanized slaughter, Gilbert, dean of First and Second World War historians, strives to recover the pathos of personal experience by spotlighting the exploits and travails of various small units and individual soldiers, mostly on the British side. He brings them to life through firsthand accounts, reminiscences by comrades, poignant letters home and snatches of soldiers' poetry, always ending his vignettes with a notice of where the soldiers discussed lie buried—or at least memorialized, since the bodies of 73,000 of the dead were never identified. (Many excellent, very detailed maps of both the battlefield and the resulting cemeteries are included.) Gilbert's approach tends to break up the narrative arc, but then the battle didn't have much of an arc anyway; there were attacks and counterattacks, bombardments and lulls, but the front lines scarcely moved before the fighting finally subsided in mutual exhaustion. His superbly written, absorbing recreations of innumerable small life-and-death struggles makes the book a fitting commemoration of the tragedy. Photos. (July 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Great War is now viewed by many as a pointless, pitiless meat grinder that sacrificed a generation of men to no worthwhile moral purpose. If one accepts that premise, then the Battle of the Somme can serve as exhibit A. Ninety years ago, Allied (primarily British) and German troops began a five-month slugfest in northwest France. The battle, which saw the first widespread use of tanks, was contested by two million troops along a 30-mile front. When it was over, it had cost both sides a combined million casualties, with virtually no territorial gain. Gilbert, a renowned historian and biographer, utilizes the journals and memoirs of the participants to convey the savagery and horror of the battle, and he also effectively explains how the battle fit into the broader strategic objectives of the adversaries. At times, the relentless slaughter conveyed in Gilbert's narrative is mind numbing, but this is a masterful work that should be read by anyone who wishes to understand the futility of the "war to end all wars." Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Over all, a good book on the campaign for those seeking more knowledge on this massive and grim battle.
Most recent customer reviews
a) The battle maps are at the end of the book, while they should have been intgrated into the book to increase readibility.Read more
"Among the participants in the battle was Willie...Read more