1st July 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Battle of The Somme

Peter H. Liddle: The 1916 Battle of The Somme - A Reappraisal

The Battle of the Somme began on the 1st July 1916 and lasted for 141 days. In the first battle (the Battle of Albert) the British infantry took an unprecedented 57,470 casualties, of which over 19,000 men died. The French Sixth Army had 1,590 casualties and the German 2nd Army lost something approaching 12,000 men. 

Peter Liddle's book (published for the 75th anniversary of the Somme) does not concentrate exclusively on the front-line infantryman but also encompasses the experiences of the Gunner, the Sapper, airman, MO and nursing sister. The Somme is scorched into the nation's heritage but with a distortion produced by the literary legacy. Liddle takes issue with the judgement of some historians and with some commonly held verdicts on the battle. He also demonstrates how the morale of the BEF, held up over so long and demanding an experience, was a triumph in itself.

This distinctive presentation of the Battle of The Somme is a challenge to think critically about some things that might have become 'received wisdom'. 


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