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  • Published: 13 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9780141043326
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

Somme

Into the Breach




The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller on the greatest battle of World War One - with groundbreaking new material on the soldiers' experiences

No conflict better encapsulates all that went wrong on the Western Front during World War I than the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The tragic loss of life and stoic endurance by troops who walked towards their death is an iconic image - but this critically-acclaimed bestseller, on the four months of battle, shows the extent to which the Allied armies were in fact able to break through the German front lines again and again.

In eight years of research, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore -- the author of Dunkirk -- has found extraordinary new material from Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, and the British - from heartbreaking diaries and letters to hitherto unseen Red Cross files - recounting their experiences amid the horror of war. It has been hailed as the best book about the battle, which, though not an Allied victory, was the beginning of the slide towards German defeat.

  • Published: 13 November 2017
  • ISBN: 9780141043326
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 704
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

About the author

Lyn MacDonald

Over the past twenty years Lyn Macdonald has established a popular reputation as an author and historian of the First World War. Her books are They Called It Passchendaele, an account of the Passchendaele campaign in 1917; The Roses of No Man's Land, a chronicle of the war from the neglected viewpoint of the casualties and the medical teams who struggled to save them; Somme, a history of the legendary and horrifying battle that has haunted the minds of succeeding generations; 1914, a vivid account of the first months of the war and winner of the 1987 Yorkshire Post Book of the Year Award; 1914-1918: Voices and Images of the Great War, an illuminating account of the many different aspects of the war; and 1915: The Death of Innocence, a brilliant evocation of the year that saw the terrible losses of Aubers Ridge, Loos, Neuve Chapelle, Ypres and Gallipoli.

Her most recent book, To the Last Man: Spring 1918, has been published by Viking. All are based on the accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors, told in their own words, and cast a unique light on the First World War. 

Also by Lyn MacDonald

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Praise for Somme

Magisterial, exemplary, heartbreaking. So original is the material, and so inventive is Sebag-Montefiore's approach . . . that this well-known tale is rendered strange again. Written with great style and sensitivity, superbly illustrated with many original plates and beautifully drawn maps, Sebag-Montefiore's brilliant new study will set the benchmark for a generation

Saul David, David Telegraph

Sebag-Montefiore tells it with gusto, a remarkable attention to detail . . . The sense of confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, and intrepid courage which characterized this disastrous campaign is captured more successfully than any other existing account

Richard Overy, Daily Telegraph

A beautifully crafted, blow-by-blow account with deep insight into the lives of these diverse young men

Kirkus Reviews

In his previous book, Dunkirk, one of Sebag-Montefiore's talents as a historian is never to lose sight of the variety of individual experience. It is impossible to read this book without being stuck afresh by the ripples of mourning and anxiety spreading out from the battlefield in France

Daniel Todman, The Financial Times

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's heroes are the junior officers and the ordinary soldiers. Their voices emerge loud and clear in his pages . . . The best historians of the war have always made good use of the words written by the participants themselves, but few have done so as effectively as here

Nick Rennison, Daily Mail

The author's combination of thoughtful analysis with first-hand testimony from army soldiers, cameramen and diarists lends a gritty immediacy

Ian Thomson, Observer

Comprehensive, authoritative and meticulously researched... [Of recent publications] it is the weightiest and best written

Simon Humphrey, Mail on Sunday

Having read almost everything that has been written on this battle, I can vouch this is the best account yet.

Gerard DeGroot, The Times

Comprehensive, authoritative and meticulously researched... [Of recent publications] it is the weightiest and best written.

Simon Humphrey, Mail on Sunday

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