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Remembered Today:

Books on the Somme


SMG65
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Now that the Press are telling us that the Battle of the Somme ended 100 years ago today (tell that to the troops in the trenches on 19th November 1916), I wonder if it is time to look at all the books that have come out on the battle this year.

 

Some are good but some are at best regurgitated facts/stories with different adjectives and some are awful.

 

I hope 2017 doesn't produce as many books and that the ones produced are of decent quality.

 

Sean

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Sean

I've just finished Richard Van Emden's Somme book and it is brilliant, it just uses the words of the participants, and it's worth it just for the photographs. I looked at the Sebag-Montefiore book today but decided against it for the time being. I admire but don't necessarily share your optimism for 2017.

 

Pete.

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20 minutes ago, Fattyowls said:

Sean

I've just finished Richard Van Emden's Somme book and it is brilliant, it just uses the words of the participants, and it's worth it just for the photographs.

 

Pete.

Spot on review. I only went in to W.H.Smix for printer paper and came out with R.V.Emden's book after a brief flick through.

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17 minutes ago, GWF1967 said:

Spot on review. I only went in to W.H.Smix for printer paper and came out with R.V.Emden's book after a brief flick through.

 

Sounds uncannily like me in any supermarket; you go in for milk and come out with the reduced item Thai banquet. The only bit I struggled with in the book was trying to understand the locations in the Seaton-Hutchinson account of an attack on High Wood, it is compelling but the geography is a bit confusing. I don't think I'm the only one, Toby (Horrocks) was researching the account and it resulted in a whole thread.

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  • 1 month later...
On 18 November 2016 at 21:34, Fattyowls said:

Sean

I've just finished Richard Van Emden's Somme book and it is brilliant, it just uses the words of the participants, and it's worth it just for the photographs. I looked at the Sebag-Montefiore book today but decided against it for the time being. I admire but don't necessarily share your optimism for 2017.

 

Pete.

Pete

The critics I've read seem to place Sebag-Montefiore's book at the top of the pile amongst this year's offerings. I was angling for it as a Christmas present but it didn't materialise, so at the moment, like you, RVE's is the pick for me.

 

I think we are guaranteed a slew of books on Third Ypres but it would be handy to have a really good new book on Arras. That Jonathan Nicholls' 'Cheerful sacrifice' is still my favourite book on the battle 26 years after publication, is both testimony to what a cracking book it is, but an indictment of what's come since (with the exception of Barton and Banning's book of panoramics) 

 

David

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18 minutes ago, David Ridgus said:

Pete

The critics I've read seem to place Sebag-Montefiore's book at the top of the pile amongst this year's offerings. I was angling for it as a Christmas present but it didn't materialise, so at the moment, like you, RVE's is the pick for me.

 

I think we are guaranteed a slew of books on Third Ypres but it would be handy to have a really good new book on Arras. That Jonathan Nicholls' 'Cheerful sacrifice' is still my favourite book on the battle 26 years after publication, is both testimony to what a cracking book it is, but an indictment of what's come since (with the exception of Barton and Banning's book of panoramics) 

 

David

 

I had a go at the Sebag-Montefiore book but gave up about a quarter of the way in. There were some interesting angles but little inaccuracies started to annoy me. He talked about the tunnellers hacking their way through the chalk to dig the mines, when the last thing they would do was hack, the process was far more delicate in the chalk to make as small a sound as possible. He then seemed to say that there were three mines at La Boiselle, at least the way I read it. At this point I began to doubt the whole thing and gave up. There were some interesting points about the relationship between Haig and Rawlinson and about Hunter-Weston but overall I wasn't impressed.

 

Pete.

 

P.S. Good to have you back mate.

 

 

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Pete

 

Thank you. Looks like Sharon's decision to buy me Mark Nicholas's autobiography rather than 'yet another b****y book on the Somme' was a good one!

 

David

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Astute woman is Mrs R. You know she's right.........

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On 27/12/2016 at 22:15, David Ridgus said:

Pete

The critics I've read seem to place Sebag-Montefiore's book at the top of the pile amongst this year's offerings. I was angling for it as a Christmas present but it didn't materialise, so at the moment, like you, RVE's is the pick for me.

 

I think we are guaranteed a slew of books on Third Ypres but it would be handy to have a really good new book on Arras. That Jonathan Nicholls' 'Cheerful sacrifice' is still my favourite book on the battle 26 years after publication, is both testimony to what a cracking book it is, but an indictment of what's come since (with the exception of Barton and Banning's book of panoramics) 

 

David

Due out in January (there may be slippage) is 'A Taste of Success: The first battle of the Scarpe, April 9-14, 1917' by Jim Smithson. No idea whether it's good, bad or indifferent, but it isn't about the Somme or Third Ypres!

 

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I'm looking forward to Jim's book. He very kindly drove me round the Arras battlefields not so many moons ago, and has been researching the Scarpe for ages.

 

Keith

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