I first read this book with only an outline understanding of WW1 - my Grandfather fought, and was wounded, at Passchendaele.
This led to adult curiosity.
I never studied history at school, but this book brought home to me the importance of the subject - it's not about dates and places, it's about people, ordinary people like my Grandfather, who not only suffered, what to us now is, unimaginable hardship - trust me, you have to read this book to even begin to imagine - but many of whom, in fact far to many of whom, paid for the world in which we live today with their lives.
Are we too prepared to be counted in this way today ?
I have gone on to read all of Lyn McDonald's books on the First War, and would recommend that if you have even the slightest interest in not just the overall social and political landscape of the world during WW1, but more importantly want to actually know what it was like to have been in the front line - to hear the words of those who actually were there - then this, 'Somme' and Lyn McDonald's other books are not only compelling and compulsive, but almost compulsory !