The Somme

Book review by Deane Barker tags: history, world-war-one

This book forced me to think about books about wars in general. I think I’ve identified four levels, in descending order of scope.

  1. Geopolitical: These books discuss the large-scale political reasons and ramifications of the war.

  2. Strategic: These books talk about large battles, and where the different fronts are and how they move over time.

  3. Tactical: These books discuss specific battles – what objectives were captured, where the different units were, etc.

  4. Personal: These books discuss situations that happened to specific people.

This book is at Level #3 on that list, which is not surprising, given the title. It’s about the battle of The Somme and nothing else.

There are a lot of maps, for instance, that show things like hills and farmhouses and trench lines. The book goes week-by-week, and sometimes day-by-day, and talks about the different officers and their units and what landmarks they occupied.

It does a fine job of this, but it didn’t really interest me. That’s the not the book’s fault – it is exactly what it claims to be. I just tend to be more interested in any of the other levels from above. Of those four, this is the one that interests me the least, I guess.

One great thing about the book are the pictures. It’s has glossy paper, and lots of pictures of the battlefields, many on two-page spreads. It’s worth it for those alone, really.

Book Info

Gary D. Sheffield
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A hardcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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