The Somme: Herosim and Horror in the First World War

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Macmillan, May 29, 2007 - History - 368 pages
3 Reviews

"Gilbert has unearthed fascinating details of the campaign . . . An unforgettable read."—The Philadelphia Inquirer

At 7:30 a.m. on July 1, 1916, the first Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches along the Somme River in France and charged into no-man's-land, toward the barbed wire and machine guns at the German front lines. In the months that followed, the fifteen-mile-long territory erupted into the epicenter of the Great War, marking a pivotal moment in both the war and military history as tanks first appeared on the battlefield and air war emerged as a devastating and decisive factor in battle. All told, there were more than one million casualties, with 310,000 men dead in just 138 days.

In this vivid account of one of history's most destructive battles, distinguished historian Martin Gilbert tracks the experiences of foot soldiers, generals, and everyone in between. With new photographs, journal entries, original maps, and military planning documents, The Somme is the most authoritative and affecting account of this bloody turning point in the Great War.

 

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User Review  - CSL - LibraryThing

The Somme has rightfully been seen as one of the worst military failures in history, and perhaps the most disastrous of the First World War - perhaps in some senses successful on a strategic level ... Read full review

The Somme: heroism and horror in the First World War

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Gilbert, the dean of WWI historians, recovers the pathos of personal experience by spotlighting the travails of small units and individual soldiers-mostly on the British side-who fought in the bloody ... Read full review

Contents

To break through and win victory
11
There is much in the wind
31
Dead men
50
It looked like
91
Boys of the Bull
105
A bloody holocaust
121
A little uneasy in regard
134
This fantasy of woe
157
firstday objectives and the plan for a breakthrough
278
The first day of battle 1 July 1916
279
the attack on the German trench lines 1 July 1916
280
1 July 1916
281
1 July 1916
282
The eastern sector of the British line 1 July 1916
283
The fighting from 2 to 31 July 1916
284
The fighting in August 1916
285

I am in Gods keeping
172
Death
192
The Grand Design begins
205
The
225
November 1916
243
Europe on the eve of war June 1914
272
The Western Front line of trenches from the North Sea to the Swiss border
273
The British Expeditionary Force sector of the front under Haigs command
274
The Somme region before the battle
275
NewfoundlandBritain Gallipolithe Somme
276
Preparing for battle AprilJune 1916
277
The fighting in September 1916
286
The October Plan 1916
287
The fighting in October and from I to 11 November 1916
288
The fighting on the Ancre 1218 November 1916
289
The Somme battlefield March 1918
290
The Somme battlefield August 1918
291
British counties whose regiments fought on the Somme
292
Places in Britain mentioned in the text
293
Approximate size of army formations
305
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About the author (2007)

Sir Martin Gilbert was knighted in 1995 "for services to British history and international relations." Among his many books are The First World War, The Second World War, The Day the War Ended, and Churchill: A Life. He lives in London, England.

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