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Walking the Somme : A Walker's Guide to the 1916 Somme Battlefields (Battleground Europe series) Paperback – 18 Feb 1997
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About the Author
Paul Reed is a leading military historian, specializing in the two world wars. He has been visiting European battlefields for more than thirty years, and lived on the Somme for over a decade. He has worked as a researcher and battlefield guide, and is the author of several books on the Great War. He also regularly contributes to television programmes, such as Timewatch, Meet the Ancestors and Who Do You Think You Are? and was historical consultant to BBC1's My Family At War. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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However, it is not the intention of this book to be a detailed history of the battle of the Somme. Instead it is a well structured walking guide that provides information to the reader regarding particular areas that are of historic importance and gives some first hand accounts from the people who were there. The book contains accurate maps drawn by the author and also gives approximate times as to how long each walk takes which is extremely useful. There are also some excellent photographs of the places and individuals that are described in the text which, when standing on the actual ground, lends a whole new sense of reality to the events that took place there.
When I read this book now it transports me back to the places that I have visited and it will certainly accompany me when I visit this area again.
Whilst the Holt's Guide to the Somme proved more useful in planning our days out in advance, Paul Reed's book proved excellent to have with us once we were actually on the spot. We didn't do any of his walks in their entirity, but found ourselves doing portions of many of them, and he was particularly useful in indicating pathways through fields which can be walked, and cemeteries which were worth a detour.
I would have liked better maps, but the Battleground Europe series all seem to be weak on maps. But there again the much-vaunted Holt's map of the Somme proves to be poor as well - not nearly as useful as you think it is going to be, with complicated keys which have one constantly turning the map over to look on the reverse for the meanings, and it has simply loads of minor inaccuracies as to roads and paths.
Paul Reed clearly has a deep interest and knowledge of the areas concerned, and if you are going battlefield touring on the Somme then this book will greatly enhance your visit.
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