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Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century Paperback – 1 Jul 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349120048
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349120041
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Required reading . . . A thoughtful and important book by a first-rate historian . . . It is a proper history of the battle, not simply an agonising account of its first day . . . He is supremely skilful in charting what he terms the battle's "shifting history and enduring memory" . . . There is something about the Somme that is imprinted onto my heart, and I am grateful that this book has helped me put it into a context that goes beyond time, place, courage and suffering (Richard Holmes,)

A sweeping and authoritative re-examination of the battle . . . Bloody Victory is a magnificent and powerful book, destined to become the standard work on the subject (Christopher Silvester, Daily Express)

Comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and vividly written . . . His new findings and his provocative conclusions will be of exceptional importance (David Stevenson)

Philpott argues that nearly everything we think we know about the Somme . . . is either wrong or a misinterpretation of events . . . After reading this ambitious narrative, it becomes impossible to see the Somme as a futile engagement in a futile conflic (Nick Rennison, Sunday Times)

Review

`A sweeping and authoritative re-examination of the battle . . . BLOODY VICTORY is a magnificent and powerful book, destined to become the standard work on the subject' Christopher Silvester, Daily Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan F. Vernon on 2 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm getting through one of these a week so finding something that sets my head on the right track is a recommendation for anyone branching on from the AJP Taylor coffee-table illustrated World War One to a considered, 'three empire' war of 'attrition' in which the likes of Haig, following plans set out by Kitchener, knew that he had a long, complex, costly war ahead of him. Worth every page, with my notes, from just about every page, running into many pages. If you're in a hurry Chapters 15, 16 and 17 form an excellent summary of what has gone before. For reasons to complex to explain I have my late grandfather's ashes at my side ... he was a machine-gunner through 1916 and 1917 before transferring to the Royal Flying Corps. I used to sit with him in the early 1990s watching TV news on the Iraq War and adding to his recorded memoir of events. I will share with him what I have learnt from 'Bloody Victory' - that it was not a waste of time, that the generals had a plan that ultimately worked and that he wasn't alone in wanting to 'get on with the job' or to 'see it through'. Thus far I've bought another three or four books and will be looking for others to add to the growing library of books that I have on the First World War. If you only read three books on the First World War - this is one of them.
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful By OK Cole on 15 July 2011
Format: Paperback
The strengths of this book have been well described, especially its analysis of the involvement of the French and German as well as British armies. In addition, the rationale behind planning and engaging in "industrial war" is discussed thoroughly and capably. An important argument raised in the book is the need to view the events of this battle through the prism of the times in which it was fought.

Notwithstanding its considerable strengths, I was disappointed by significant weaknesses. I support earlier criticism of unnecessary repetition and elaboration. Yet, in spite of the book's length, there was surprising little discussion of the disregard for soldiers' lives, living conditions and morale imposed by failures of leadership. In fact, the failure of British leadership was glossed over. Much has already been written about the "Donkeys" and Haig's shortcomings and hardly needs to be repeated. Yet, given the central argument about the strategic necessity for a battle of attrition, surely some comment on the wanton disregard for soldiers' lives and welfare - repeated a year later at Passchendaele - is warranted? Most telling was a description of the then Major the Viscount Gort sent forward from his staff quarters to inspect the conditions when rains had made the battlefield scarcely tolerable for living, never mind fighting. This echoes the more infamous comment by Haig's Chief of Staff when visiting the Passchendaele front near the end of the battle: "Good God, did we really send men to fight in that"

I was struck by the author's repeated criticism of Churchill in particular and various leading historians for their criticism of the conduct of the battle. I was not convinced of the objectivity of arguments offered.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By pjm on 5 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
well worth the read
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