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Remembered Today:

The Road To The Somme - Philip Orr


tommy mcclimonds
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Advance Warning of Publication

Just a quick note to say that the long awaited updated edition (at least in Northern Ireland) to Philip Orr's book - The Road to the Somme (Blackstaff Press) will be launched on 17 September 2008, at 6.30pm in the Somme Heritage Centre, 233 Bangor Road, Newtownards. Invitation only I'm afraid at the moment, but no doubt copies will be in the shops very shortly indeed.

Regards, Tommy.

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Tommy - very interesting news - do you know in what way the new edition is updated?

Alan

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Alan

I wouldn't want to comment at this stage, I just know a couple of people he has been talking to so I have some ideas, but I will wait on the book coming out. It will be quite interesting to see how he has approached updating the new edition. Can I take it you will not be able to make it this time, as I know you won't be able to make Des's meet later in the month.

Regards, Tommy.

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I was told recently that Mr. Orr had re-appraised his initial volume and was taking into account much new material which had emerged since. My own sad story ... I once had no less than three copies of this book. 1. The hardback (for review) was loaned out .. and disappeared. 2. The softback I bought to replace was loaned out .. and disappeared. 3. The 'bargain book' version which I bought to replace that was loaned out .. and disappeared.

Shurely shome mishtake on my behalf.

When will we ever learn?

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This is good news as this is currently a very difficult book to get hold of. I, too, will be interested to see how the book has been updated. I thought his more recent book on the 10th Irish Division at Gallipoli was excellent - very different from 'The Road to the Somme' because it's all based on archive stuff rather than interviews.

Swizz

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There is a picture on the flyer, of what I take will be the front cover/dustjacket, don't know yet if it's soft or hard back yet, the blurb quoted on this taken from the Irish Times states, "one of the most important Irish historical works in recent years & a deeply moving account of wasted lives and purposeless slaughter" - interesting comments indeed by what I take was the reviewer. I have had a look for the full review at the Irish Times on-line but can't trace it, maybe it hasn't been published yet? Des maybe you can throw some light on this one? By the way there is a copy of "Road to the Somme" here for £15, the cheapest I have seen in ages!

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/SearchRe...ad+to+the+somme

Swizz

Glad you liked "Field of Bones" his more recent Gallipoli book. I thought the publisher let him down a bit with the quality of some of the reproduced pictures.

Regards, Tommy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Review copy arrived this AM - will check through and inform all. Note that Swizz is mentioned!

Early impression ... printed in same non gloss format as the 10th Div book ... seem to be more pics .... not as high quality in terms of production as the original .. BUT it's the content that counts. More follows later.

Anyone going to the luanch at the Some centre on Wed evening? I'll be there so gimme a shout.

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Tommy,

Yes I would agree about some of the illustrations in the Gallipoli book. Some were OK but I thought others were a bit muddy. But of course the author has no control over that sort of thing.

Looking forward to hearing what you make of the new edition Des!

Swizz

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Des

I hope to be able to make it on Wednesday evening for the launch. I have no idea what you look like but I am sure someone will be able to point you out.

Swizz

I would agree. Some of the photos were poorly reproduced and ruined for me what was an otherwise excellent book on the 10th. By the way just finished your own tomb and really enjoyed it - oh for the time to do more research myself.

Regards, Tommy.

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I hope everyone enjoys the event tonight! Just wish I could go...

Thanks for your kind comments Tommy - it feels really rewarding when people say they have enjoyed the book. All those hours in archives feel worthwhile! :)

Swizz

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For those who have not got the original - a valuable addition to your bookshelf.

It will be especially useful to those, now living overseas (i.e. outside NI!) with ancestors who served in the Ulster Division.

Sets scene well, explains political context of Ulster Volunteers - good interviews - new pics - good, atmospheric re-telling of the day of battle.

For anoraks ... usual story. Nothing really satisfies us until we delve into the depths of our own research.

In summation .. anyone who has the original will be interested in the added chapters on WW1 and Ulster memory .. and they will probably buy this one because their old edition is presumably fairly thumb marked by now.

For those 'new' to the subject ... an ideal starting point. And at a good price. See it on Amazon.

More after event.

However, I do feel there is ample material out there for a true 'follow up' .. 'The Road FROM the Somme ... the Ulster Division after 1st July 1916'

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Couple of pics from launch - courtesty of :- Peadar Curran

Photography & Videography Specialist

Tommy McC and I were obviously much to unphotogenic to be snapped up!

Pix show Philip Orr (bearded, academic looking) with various great and good at Somme Heritage centre - Robin Charkey of Royal Ulster Rifles fame prominently featured!

and

Our very own Sommeassociation (Carole) in full flow - let's say she remained calm under pressure.

post-1582-1221728834.jpg

post-1582-1221728874.jpg

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hello , can anyone give a review of the proceedings at the launch of philip orr's book,

and if there were any interesting stories related. i look forward to hearing more reports

about this book.

best wishes , jonathanb.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have just been looking at Philip Orr's new book in my local Easton's Bookshop, but after scanning through it, i think i prefer my original first printing. The new book is a smaller size and not as visually appealing, and with a different picture on the front cover. The extras in this book are a new introduction, and a new chapter at the end about present day commemoration of the Somme. There also appears to be a number of new photos, but the lesser page size, takes away from the impact they should have. It is good to see this book reappear, because the interest in the Battle of the Somme, and the 36th Ulster Division, seems to increase year by year, and Philip Orr, should be recognised and commended, for bringing his research to the wider public. My only regret is i would have liked the new book to been in the size and format of the original.

The Belfast daily morning newspaper, The Newsletter printed a review of it, on the 20th September, which give a broad welcome to the re-publication.

Do any of the forum members have any views on the new book?

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Jonathan,

Was over in Belfast Friday and got a copy out of Eason's. Was a little disappointed. The cover is not as striking as the original and as you say the size was a bit of a let down as the quality of the pictures suffer because of it.

One other thing regarding the photos is some of the original ones have been removed and although i can appreciate space is limited i feel that it would have been better to retain the photos of the veterans in the last chapters and dropped the ones that have no direct baring on the story [just my own opinion].

That said it is still good value for money and a great introduction to the Ulster Division, should be in all school libraries in Northern Ireland.

Whilst over i traveled up to Londonderry to meet Gardiner Mitchell and have a look at the final pre-print revised edition of his 'Three Cheers for the Derrys',

which should be out in November.

Having an interest in this book i will not say too much at present but can confirm the quality and size is as good as the original with more content and a lot of excellent new photographs, with a much enlarged roll of honour.

Rob

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Rob,

Thank you for your observations on Philip Orr's book, they are similar to my own.

I am pleased to hear that Gardiner Mitchell's book "Three Cheers For The Derrys" is

also going to make a welcome reappearance shortly. His first edition was an excellent

book, easily read and understood. It is always good to hear of books, coming

out with new additional information and photos on the First World War.

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