The Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller on the greatest battle of World War One - with groundbreaking new material on the soldiers' experiences.
Featuring Newly Discovered Accounts from Around the World.
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 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.
“Having read almost everything that is written on this battle, I can vouch that this is the best account yet. Sebag-Montefiore deserves congratulation for restoring humanity to this battle”
Gerard DeGroot, The Times
“Magisterial, exemplary, heartbreaking. So original is the material, and so inventive is Sebag-Montefiore's approach - telling each stage of the fight from the perspective of both the combatants and their families back home - 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, Daily Telegraph
“Sebag-Montefiore's combination of thoughtful analysis with first-hand testimony from army soldiers, cameramen and diarists lends a gritty immediacy”
Ian Thomson, Observer
“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. A moving record”