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Publisher's Summary

No conflict better encapsulates all that went wrong on the Western Front 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 which will be hard to ignore during the centennial year.

Despite this, this book shows the extent to which the Allied armies were in fact able repeatedly to break through the German front lines. The author has uncovered some remarkable stories, as yet unknown, of action and heroism in the face of battle. He weaves in these firsthand experiences, creating a remarkable portrait of life at the front.

©2016 Hugh Sebag-Montefiore (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Excellent historical research

This book was full of well researched, historical information on the First World War. Very informative and well thought out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A gentle look at a horrific subject

This is by far one of my favorite books on the Somme and the audio version of it brings a more gentle delivery to the horrors faced on the battle field. All around a fantastic listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Gained lots of information

Very detailed, very well narrated but also complex. It would have required an interactive map to be able to keep track of locations of the action. The small maps in the ebook helped but still not enough.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Somme

Not much in the way of opinion. Like reading a long time line. Interesting but not gripping

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You'll listen to it twice!!

Would you listen to Somme again? Why?

I would because if you listen to it normally, you'll miss details. I want to listen to it slower with maps in front of me.

What did you like best about this story?

The reading of letters from participants and the narration in between that puts it into modern day perspectives.

Which character – as performed by Roy McMillan – was your favorite?

Roy did an amazing job, I don't know if he performed all the different accents, but if he was, he was spot on doing English, Australian, German, Scottish, Irish, New Zealand and Canadian accents.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I could I would, except its rather long for that. I'd rather listen to it in chunks and replay parts.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was like watching a documentary on tv. However, it was better because more details are brough forward and paints a more livid picture than what's edited out of television versions.

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Awesome and incredible

Certainly the best book I have ever read on ww1 and to couple that thought with the fact it just covered the Somme is as I said incredible.mr mcmillion the narrator was very enjoyable. He was able to clearly reflect the accents of the Irish, the Australians, the kiwis and the scots. again a wonderful book

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert H.
  • 08-21-16

Maps Needed

Whilst good, this audiobook desperately needs accompanying maps that you'd get with the actual book.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-12-16

Excellent

Very well narrated.
Excellent account of the campaign. Intelligent use of contemporary accounts.
Does not shy away from the killing of those who surrendered.
Primarily from the allied point of view.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Dougie1974
  • 11-28-16

lest we forget

whilst the details are horrendous and sometimes difficult to comprehend, it is a stark reminder of the sacrifice so many made.

brilliantly done.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 08-01-16

Brilliant

Best book on the Somme since Martin Middlebrooke's superb account of the first day, brilliantly read and new must have in all formats

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • PhilipVince
  • 08-01-16

Stunning.

Although most people will know the basic story, the depth of research is truly amazing.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 03-15-17

Blow by blow account of one front in WW1

An immense amount of research has gone into producing this immensely detailed account of the battles of The Somme: not just the descriptions of the sequence of engagements with the enemy but, even more impressive, the wealth of personal accounts written by the combatants recording their experiences and the letters they wrote to family back home.

It’s not a book to be ‘enjoyed’, but it serves as a salutary reminder of what the men at the front endured in the battles of The Somme during the months from July to November 1916. The book meticulously chronicles each of the battles on this one front and records that the same things happened again and again. I was carried along by the narrative but found the relentless repeating of the same horrors, set-backs and logistical errors depressing, but it did get over what the men saw and experienced at the front.

The sheer number of lives lost or ruined is appalling: statistics made worse by the futility of many of the battles and the callous disregard and, at times incompetence, of the generals directing the action.

The narrator has a pleasant voice and is good at different accents, but I did feel he spoke the text too fast much of the time. Fine for giving battle scenes a sense of urgency, but elsewhere it seems to overly hurried.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • A. DONALDSON
  • 12-06-16

excellent account of the somme battle

A gripping account of the Battle combining soldiers accounts from both sides with a good tactical view of the battle. At times the accounts of the men's suffering is truly heartbreaking

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Samantha Pearce
  • 09-18-16

Excellent Read

Definitely well worth a read. Excellent coverage of the whole period of the battle. I am a New Zealander living in London & Gallopoli is the defining WW1 battle for our nation. Fascinating to read of ANZAC contribution here, not an area I know well. Sadly it appears our Australian cousins were better at protecting their countrymen from British Military Justice than we were.

I don't think there is anyone from later generations will ever understand the sacrifice that was allowed to happen & the lack of Information received by those back home. The losses on the first day are of course the most obvious, but for what was achieved, all seem truly pointless.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • geoff luck
  • 12-13-16

stunning accounts

very well read...a masterpiece on the subject, but it is not for the faint of heart.
the book deals with the battle on different levels, and is one I'm glad I purchased.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon Pell
  • 12-21-16

Narration at its finest

Amazingly well read. The narrator has you transfixed and has the ability to take you back in time to those awful events of The Somme. Chasing accents of the different people involved adds a great sense of diversity that was prevalent on the battlefield. The 'British' army wasn't so British after all but made up of thousands of troops from across the globe. This book brings all these forces together into the mud and devastation of the tranches. Thank you for a wonderfully well read audio book.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful