Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century

By William Philpott

Published by Abacus (2010)

1 July 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The hot, hellish day in the fields of northern France that has dominated our perception of the First World War for just shy of a century. The shameful waste; the pointlessness of young lives lost for the sake of a few yards; the barbaric attitudes of the British leaders; the horror and ignominy of failure. All have occupied our thoughts for generations. Yet are we right to view the Somme in this way?

Drawing on a vast number of sources such as letters, diaries and numerous archives, Bloody Victory describes in vivid detail the physical conditions, the combat and exceptional bravery against the odds but it also, uniquely, captures how the Somme defined the twentieth century in so many ways. This is an utterly gripping new analysis of one of the most iconic campaigns in history.

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