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Through German Eyes: The British and the Somme 1916 (Phoenix Press) Paperback – 2 Oct 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: W&N; New Ed edition (2 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753822024
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753822029
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Excellent idea... fascinating first-hand reports... enlightening. (LITERARY REVIEW)

'Christopher Duffy's subtle and intelligent book... is a refreshing addition to the literature of the Western Front experience' (Patrick Bishop DAILY TELEGRAPH)

fascinating records of the interrogations... show what soldiers thought weeks, if not hours after coming out of the front line. (THE OBSERVER)

Duffy's book is crisply written and an easy read. (THE SCOTSMAN) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The key battle of the First World War from the German point of view

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!"

The words of Robert Burns have already captured the impact of this book.
At last we are seeing more books based on research of the available German Great War archives and this book is a superb addition, mainly because it helps to answer the question `How' rather than `What'.
What happened during the Battle of the Somme is largely a matter of record and has been addressed by many authors, but in general there are few books that attempt to explain the process and psychological framework that conditioned the participants. In other words we know what happened, but how did the men prevail over such dreadful conditions and circumstances? That this book examines the issue `from the other side of no-man's-land' is very useful and the image we have of British POW's under post capture questioning (one hesitates to use the term interrogation) is of men released from the horrors of battle and ready to impart information to an enemy with whom they shared much. The clever use of interrogators who shared values with the captured is highlighted. German airmen would tend to question British airmen as the shared values of aviators encouraged conversation.
The willingness of POW's to impart what they considered as unimportant information actually assisted the Germans in gaining the insight into the British character that was one of their main objectives.
This is a book that any serious Great War researcher or enthusiast should have, and will attract the general reader because it is presented in a very readable style. It is provocative, erodes many preconceptions, and adds significantly to the wider understanding of how men reacted to the circumstances of their service and capture.
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Format: Hardcover
During the war and for some years afterward, the British effort on the Somme in 1916 was regarded by those who were there as a very considerable achievement. Denied by David Lloyd George in his scurrilous "War Memoirs" and, in the descending gloom of the thirties, denigrated by the highly seductive and pernicious view of waste, disenchantment and futility purveyed by poets and intellectuals, the Somme descended into mythology that persists to this day. Alan Clarks "The Donkeys" and "Oh It's a Lovely War" in the anti-establishment sixties perpetuated the myth, building it into a fortress that has proved virtually impregnable. Thousands of accounts - at times you would never the believe the war continued after 9am on 1st July 1916 - of brave pals, never before into action, slaughtered by the machine guns of Serre, Beaumont Hamel, Thiepval, La Boisselle. Powerful imagery, deep emotion. The impact of the loss on 1 July was immense and still has the power to shock us today and quite rightly. But where is the memory of hard-fought success on the first day; of the brilliant capture of the German second line on 14th July; of the incredible intensity of the fight for Guillemont; the extraordinary advances on 15th September; the fast-paced development of new structures of command, of tactics, of logistics; even of the monumental effort to fight in the mud of October? "But we lost hundreds of thousands of men ... surely stupid... how can you call that a success"? Surely those who took part deserve better of us than to keep on accepting this line. Surely we need to take the Somme into proper perspective. "Through German eyes: the British & the Somme 1916" is certainly among the most powerful works to help us do so.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Christopher Duffy is an acknowledged expert on the Austrian and German army between the 1800's and 1945 and therefore readers can be sure that the content of this useful volume will be accurate, as it will be based on firm facts, a great deal of extensive research and a wealth of experience. It is sure to be an invaluable addition to any military historian's or battlefield guide's library and will be ideal for future reference especially when wanting to add a new and different dimension to your battlefield tours.

Anyone who has heard of the Battle of the Somme is aware that it was one of the key battles of the Great War and also learnt of the horrific waste of human life - especially on that fateful 1st July day, when no less than 58,000 British troops became casualties or were killed in action. This fact alone has left a lasting legacy of an image of British incompetency and brave "Tommies" being sent to their certain deaths by blundering generals, therefore branding the initial attack and following sequence of events a disaster.

Just as the title implies, this volume deals with the battle from the German perspective and will provide the reader with a very different view of the thought processes all those years ago. Contrary to modern British belief, the Germans did not believe the British troops were useless, in fact as the author's research now reveals, they had a great and growing respect for the professionalism, performance and mentality of their enemy - especially as they were mostly volunteers.

The German view of the British and events at the time has only just come to light and therefore the contents of this volume will make fascinating reading.
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