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A Subaltern On The Somme In 1916 by [Plowman, Max]
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A Subaltern On The Somme In 1916 Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 915 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing; PP1 - Kindle Formatted edition (7 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CP6UVWY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #666,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Max Plowman gives an erudite and sensitive appreciation of his time as a junior officer in the Great War.

Plowman himself is capable and brave, well-respected by his men and fellow officers. He is acutely aware of how character determines a man's response to the demands of war in the front line, in both officers and men. Character portrayal is a strength of the book.

Top Brass is seen as falling short too often: "...the colonel himself ...never managed (though to give him his due he tried very hard) to reach the trenches". And " At Beauquesne we passed some large country houses that are said to be in use as army headquarters. One could not help admiring the command's taste". Also "For the higher command the war is a great adventure and into it they can and do put tremendous zeal and endless thought. At the same time they have all the excitement of a bigger game than any other"

He is also concerned about the mechanisation of war. "We have endowed machinery with the power once confined to a man's right arm, and now the machine continues to function long after our natural instincts have spent themselves. That is what makes this war so ghastly. It is machine-made."

Plowman became increasingly disillusioned with the conflict. If only the British public knew what was going on, he thought: "...in the words of our battle-hymn, 'They'd never believe it'"

Following recuperation in England from a bomb blast he wrote to his battalion adjutant asking to be relieved of his commission on the grounds of religious conscientious objection to all war. What is not in the book is that he was arrested and tried by court martial for refusing to return to his unit. He was dismissed from the army without punishment.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amongst the dozens of WW1 memoirs written by junior infantry officers, this one stands out as being particularly well-written. Max Plowman, who originally wrote the book under the name of "Mark Seven" gives us atmospheric episodes from his six months on the Western Front, and it rings completely true in every respect. My grandfather too was a junior officer on the Somme, and his reminiscences, told to me as a teenager, are in total accord with this fine book.

I read this book in a couple of days, and almost at once became dismayed at how fast it was going by and how near I was to the end. I am about to read it a second time: it is that sort of book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A powerful and emotional account by a soldier during of one of the most dreadful events in our history. The memoir is engaging and vivid, offering a raw and real look into World War I by a very talented and classical writer. Max Plowman was a very admirable man and I have much respect for not only his abilities as an author, but also his endurance through a time that is almost unimaginable these days. I found every chapter to be just as captivating as the other and with the visually rich, detailed writing painting a picture through each chapter in the mind, it ended up leaving a lasting impression on me that proved hard to fade.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an unadulterated and raw look into the events that occurred on the Western Front through an intelligent author's perspective.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the few officers who made it through WW1, this is a very human and moving account of the best and the worst of life on the front. Well written, full of action, polite (except perhaps to certain staff officers) this is a book that really deserves reading by the millions of people today who lost relatives in the trenches of the Great War.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this as a follow-up to Margaret McMillan's 700 pages The war that ended the peace. Together they give some understanding of the causes of WW I and the misery of those common soldiers who fought in it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A self-effacing memoire which speaks frankly about life in the trenches of the Somme once the initial push had failed and after so many were killed in the first few days.
It is clear that the men were poorly equipped at times, the battle got away from the generals and the stalemate was complete.
I liked the human thought that away from the guns pounding positions with impersonal fallout. But if the guns fell silent the troops would lose the inclination to pull their triggers, they lacked the will to kill, being tired and at their physical limit. Yet discipline under pins all the soldiers life, routine and orders must be followed.
All aspects of daily life, the tedium, the need for morale are touched upon. The desire to punish and a court-martial. The need for foot management, lice, mud, rum ration and awards/ribbons.
The disconnect with home but the desire for leave. The bodies lying around unburied, where they turn up and the troops superstitions around touching the dead.
The constant drilling of the men. the dangers moving even behind their lines, the courage of the stretcher-bearers and the simple working classes that filled the ranks. This is in stark contrast to the commissioned ranks that were middle class or products of public schools became the officer class with servants and privileges no-one questioned.
It is an honest account told with a degree of pain, few complaints and a honesty that reads well. It brings more pride to my remembrance of these simple acts. Brings clarity and depth to events that still make one angry and how little we have had to overcome as young people.
As a reader I don't feel manipulated or emotionally played. I was moved by a first hand account that sought to explain but not justify events.
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