A major new work on the notorious First World War battle, the first to argue in significant detail for a complete overhaul of the way we think about the Somme.
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.
Required reading . . . A thoughtful and important book by a first-rate historian . . . It is a proper history of the battle, not simply an agonising account of its first day . . . He is supremely skilful in charting what he terms the battle's "shifting history and enduring memory" . . . There is something about the Somme that is imprinted onto my heart, and I am grateful that this book has helped me put it into a context that goes beyond time, place, courage and suffering - Richard Holmes,
A sweeping and authoritative re-examination of the battle . . . Bloody Victory is a magnificent and powerful book, destined to become the standard work on the subject - Christopher Silvester, Daily Express
Comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and vividly written . . . His new findings and his provocative conclusions will be of exceptional importance - David Stevenson
Philpott argues that nearly everything we think we know about the Somme . . . is either wrong or a misinterpretation of events . . . After reading this ambitious narrative, it becomes impossible to see the Somme as a futile engagement in a futile conflic - Nick Rennison, Sunday Times