Forgotten Voices of the Somme

Posted on on 28 June 2016
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Author: Joshua Levine
Publication Date: 01 January 2008

Publisher's Description:

'1916. The Somme. With over a million casualties, it was the most brutal battle of the First World War.It is a clash that even now, over 90 years later, remains seared into the national consciousness, conjuring up images of muddy trenches and young lives tragically wasted. Its first day, July 1st 1916 - on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead - is the bloodiest day in the history of the British armed forces to date. On the German side, an officer famously described it as 'the muddy grave of the German field army'. By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses, ultimately laying the foundations for the Allies' final victory on the Western Front.

The definitive oral history of the most infamous and bloody conflict of the Great War'

Centenary News Comment:

This oral history, collated and arranged by Joshue Levine, is an illuminating addition to the 'Forgotten Voices' collection. Levine draws on material from the Imperial War Museum sound archive and in doing so presents a poignant insight into life in the trenches of the Somme battlefield. As he notes in his preface, the Somme has become synonymous with fear, danger and horror. In this book Levine attempts to use the voices of the men who were there to explore the truth of the experience. The book includes contributions from all sides and all ranks, backgrounds and roles.

Ultimately Levine has captured something quite special in this book - perhaps the very energy of the men who fought in a battle that 'went on, and on, and on, and on' - and he has succeeded in drawing focus to the individuals, rather than perpetuating the idea that the Somme purely equals fear/death/horror.

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