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The Somme
     

The Somme

by Robin Prior, Trevor Wilson
 

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Published in a new edition on the centenary of the seismic battle, this book provides the definitive account of the Somme and assigns responsibility to military and political leaders for its catastrophic outcome.

“A magisterial piece of scholarship. . . . It is a model of historical research and should do much to further our understanding of the Great War

Overview

Published in a new edition on the centenary of the seismic battle, this book provides the definitive account of the Somme and assigns responsibility to military and political leaders for its catastrophic outcome.

“A magisterial piece of scholarship. . . . It is a model of historical research and should do much to further our understanding of the Great War and how it was fought.”—Contemporary Review
 
“Revisionist history at its best.”—Library Journal (starred review)
 
“A major addition to the literature on the military history of the Great War.”—Jay Winter

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Battle of the Somme (1916) epitomizes the immensity of World War I battlefield slaughter. Australian military historians Prior (Sch. of Humanities & Social Sciences, Univ. of New South Wales) and Wilson (history, Sch. of History & Politics, Univ. of Adelaide) provide a day-by-day account of the politics, strategy, and command structure that made this particular debacle possible. They begin by demonstrating the role of civilian leadership in pushing for a great Western offensive, then move on to the planning and operational history of the battle, in the process revealing the fault lines in the British Expeditionary Force's command structure. This book revises the traditional account of British troops being ordered to march shoulder to shoulder to their doom on July 1, replacing it with a picture of poor tactical coherence among the British commanders and faulty battle preparations that left German defenses intact on the day of attack. Fundamentally, the authors posit, the type of offensive tactics the British employed did not really matter; it was the state of enemy defenses that determined the casualties. The failure to destroy German barbed wire, machine gun posts, and artillery concentrations ensured that dozens of army units were decimated prior to reaching the frontlines. Revisionist history at its best; recommended for all libraries.-Frederic Krome, Jacob Rader Marcus Ctr. of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

“A major addition to the literature on the military history of the Great War.”—Jay Winter

“These two distinguished Australian military historians have taken a battle layered with controversy, emotional responses, and populist myth and calmly reinterpreted the evidence from scratch.”—Society for Army Historical Research, review of Passchendaele

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300220285
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
04/26/2016
Edition description:
New edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Robin Prior is professor of history at Flinders University. Trevor Wilson is professor emeritus of history at the University of Adelaide.

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