I recently purchased this author's latest book: 'The Imperial War Museum Book of 1918: Year of Victory' and was prompted to do so because I enjoyed his book on the Somme. I first read this book when it was released in hardback some years ago and I am somewhat surprised that it has not received any reviews of yet. I have a passionate interest in books covering the Western Front during the Great War. I found this book to be a well researched and presented account of this terrible battle. Having read quite a few books on this battle I have no hesitation it placing it along side such great books as Lyn MacDonald's 'Somme' and Martin Middlebrook's 'The First Day on the Somme'. Malcolm Brown has utilised numerous first hand accounts from diaries, reports, newspapers and interviews and uses these in a manner that brings life to this terrible battle. Somewhat similar in style to Lyn MacDonald and just as good, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The author tells the battle through the experiences of the ordinary (I should say extraordinary) soldier; British, Australian, Canadian, German and the many others who fought during this terrible carnage. The narrative flows along smoothly and the personal accounts of the soldiers seem to blend in effortlessly. Malcolm Brown has used the resources of the Imperial War Museum to present a detailed and accurate story of the Somme which I am sure that most people would enjoy and find rewarding. If you can no longer find a copy of Lyn MacDonald's 'Somme' or Martin Middlebrook's 'The First Day on the Somme' grab this book instead, you won't be disappointed! Of interest to other readers this book was recently hailed as "a valuable addition to First World War literature".
The material available on the Somme is huge. However, much of the material has contributed to the mythology surrounding the Somme of 1916. For example, a generation of men were sacrificed for no reason; the generals were incompetent; the Somme never achieved anything and so on. This book tries to take a balanced view of the actions between July 1916 and November 1916, and it does admirably. Based on actual accounts by the men who fought on the Somme, it tells the story from their viewpoint. Moreover, Malcom Brown's own perceptions of the Somme are also apparant here. Some good illustrations, and a well written and researched book, it should stand alongside Martin Middlesbrook's classic work and others.