The first day on the Somme, 1 July 1916

by Martin Middlebrook

Hardcover, 1972




New York, Norton [1972]


A thorough and detailed survey of the events of the first of July 1916 including not only official records and information gleaned from regimental histories but also using first hand accounts from both German and British survivors.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Schmerguls
1157 The First Day on the Somme: 1 July 1916, by Martin Middlebrook (read 8 Apr 1972) This is an account of July 1, 1916, surely one of Britain's most dreadful days. 19,240 died, 35,493 were wounded, and 2,152 were missing. Really quite a well-put-together book, though it is designed for Englishmen who had relatives on the Somme. I would like to visit the battlefield and vicariously experience the sensations of those who were there. The author says live shells are still found in the area, after all these years, even though the woods are completely re-grown. [I read Martin Gilbert's The Somme on 28 Apr 2007, and have reviewed it on LibraryThing. It tells the story of the whole battle, whereas this book just does the first day.]… (more)
LibraryThing member gommecourt
Middlebrook's seminal work on the first day of the battle of the Somme. Based on his own interviews with dozens of survivors of the fighting it is informative, emotional, gripping, exhausting and an essential read to anyone interested in the Great War and the Somme. This is a classic of military history.
LibraryThing member Miro
A very good book about the failure of the British Imperial generals to adapt to WWI trench warfare and the enormous loss of life that this entailed.
LibraryThing member ksmyth
I picked up this book at Munroe's in downtown Victoria B.C. a couple. Though on vacation, I was deathly ill at the time, and locked myself up in my room with this book for a couple of days. I found this a fascinating book, with many first hand observations of that first day, across the Somme front. Perhaps it was more most meaningful because the quality of the disaster was spread so uniformly across the all of the units participating. It is also significant knowing that the second day, and third day were a lot like the first, and so on for a period of months.… (more)
LibraryThing member Whiskey3pa
Excellent book. Well written and full of first person accounts. The courage of the troops was remarkable and the mediocrity of the leadership sad.



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