Author(s): Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
No conflict better encapsulates all that went wrong on the Western Front than the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The tragic loss of life and stoic endurance by troops who walked towards their death is an iconic image which will be hard to ignore during the centennial year. Despite this, this book shows the extent to which the Allied armies were in fact able repeatedly to break through the German front lines. By focusing on the first-hand experiences of both Allied and enemy soldiers, the author weaves a remarkable portrait of life at the Front.
'A searing story. A meticulous military history and a deeply moving testimony to the extraordinary bravery of individual soldiers.' (About Dunkirk) The Times Sebag-Montefiore tells it with gusto, a remarkable attention to detail... The sense of confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, and intrepid courage which characterized this disastrous campaign is captured more successfully than any other existing account. -- Richard Overy Daily Telegraph Several fine books have been written about "the miracle of Dunkirk", but none better than this. (About Dunkirk) -- Andrew Roberts Mail on Sunday The best new narrative of the battle thus far, reflecting his gifts for fluent prose and moving quotations. -- Max Hastings The Sunday Times Having read almost everything that has been written on this battle, I can vouch this is the best account yet. -- Gerard DeGroot The Times A beautifully crafted, blow-by-blow account with deep insight into the lives of these diverse young men. Kirkus Review The author puts the focus squarely on the soldiers. His talent as a historian is never to lose sight of the variety of individual experience. In his previous book, Dunkirk, one of Sebag-Montefiore's talents as a historian is never to lose sight of the variety of individual experience. It is impossible to read this book without being stuck afresh by the ripples of mourning and anxiety spreading out from the battlefield in France. -- Daniel Todman The Financial Times High Sebag-Montefiore's magisterial Somme is the fruit of eight years' labour and it shows. He draws on previously unpublished sources from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Germany to reconstruct the story of the tragic battle in almost forensic detail. So original is the material, and so inventive is Sebag-Montefiore's approach -- telling each stage of the fight from the perspective of both the combatants and their families back home -- that this well-known tale is rendered strange again. But if Sebag-Montefiore's use of first-hand accounts is exemplary, so too is his historical judgement... Written with great style and sensitivity, superbly illustrated with many original plates and beautifully drawn maps, Sebag-Montefiore's brilliant new study will set the benchmark for a generation. -- Saul David The Telegraph Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's heroes are the junior officers and the ordinary soldiers. Their voices emerge loud and clear in his pages. The best historians of the war have always made good use of the words written by the participants themselves, but few have done so as effectively as here. -- Nick Rennison Daily Mail The author's combination of thoughtful analysis with first-hand testimony from army soldiers, cameramen and diarists lends a gritty immediacy -- Ian Thomson Observer Comprehensive, authoritative and meticulously researched... [Of recent publications] it is the weightiest and best written. -- Simon Humphrey Mail on Sunday
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore's best-selling books are Enigma: The Battle for the Code and Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man. He lives in north London with his wife and three children.