The Most Devastating Battle of the Great War in the Words of Those Who Survived
Author: Joshua Levine
Publisher: Random House
1916. The Somme. With over a million casualties, it was the most brutal battle of World War I. It is a clash that even now, over 90 years later, remains seared into the national consciousness, conjuring up images of muddy trenches and young lives tragically wasted. Its first day, July 1st 1916 - on which the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead - is the bloodiest day in the history of the British armed forces to date. On the German side, an officer famously described it as 'the muddy grave of the German field army'. By the end of the battle, the British had learned many lessons in modern warfare while the Germans had suffered irreplaceable losses, ultimately laying the foundations for the Allies' final victory on the Western Front. Drawing on a wealth of material from the vast Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of the Somme presents an intimate, poignant, sometimes even bleakly funny insight into life on the front line: from the day-to-day struggle of extraordinary circumstances to the white heat of battle and the constant threat of injury or death. Featuring contributions from soldiers of both sides and of differing backgrounds, ranks and roles, many of them previously unpublished, this is the definitive oral history of this unique and terrible conflict.
The subject of the new major film by Christopher Nolan It could have been the biggest military disaster suffered by the British in the Second World War, but against all odds the British Army was successfully evacuated, and 'Dunkirk spirit' became synonymous with the strength of the British people in adversity. On the same day that Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, Nazi troops invaded Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium. The eight-month period of calm that had existed since the declaration of war was over. But the defences constructed by the Allies in preparation failed to repel a German army with superior tactics.The British Expeditionary Force soon found themselves in an increasingly chaotic retreat. By the end of May 1940, over 400,000 Allied troops were trapped in and around the port of Dunkirk without shelter or supplies. Hitler's army was just ten miles away. On 26 May, the British Admiralty launched Operation Dynamo. This famous rescue mission sent every available vessel - from navy destroyers and troopships to pleasure cruisers and fishing boats - over the Channel to Dunkirk. Of the 850 'Little Ships' that sailed to Dunkirk, 235 were sunk by German aircraft or mines, but over this nine day period 338,000 British and French troops were safely evacuated. Drawing on the wealth of material from the Imperial War Museum Sound Archive, Forgotten Voices of Dunkirk presents in the words of both rescued and rescuers in an intimate and dramatic account of what Winston Churchill described as a 'miracle of deliverance'.
In 1960, the Imperial War Museum began a momentous and important task. A team of academics, archivists and volunteers set about tracing WWI veterans and interviewing them at length in order to record the experiences of ordinary individuals in war. The IWM aural archive has become the most important archive of its kind in the world. Authors have occasionally been granted access to the vaults, but digesting the thousands of hours of footage is a monumental task. Now, forty years on, the Imperial War Museum has at last given author Max Arthur and his team of researchers unlimited access to the complete WWI tapes. These are the forgotten voices of an entire generation of survivors of the Great War. The resulting book is an important and compelling history of WWI in the words of those who experienced it.
The twenty-seven original contributions to this volume investigate the ways in which the First World War has been commemorated and represented internationally in prose fiction, drama, film, docudrama and comics from the 1960s until the present. The volume thus provides a comprehensive survey of the cultural memory of the war as reflected in various media across national cultures, addressing the complex connections between the cultural post-memory of the war and its mediation. In four sections, the essays investigate (1) the cultural legacy of the Great War (including its mythology and iconography); (2) the implications of different forms and media for representing the war; (3) ‘national’ memories, foregrounding the differences in post-memory representations and interpretations of the Great War, and (4) representations of the Great War within larger temporal or spatial frameworks, focusing specifically on the ideological dimensions of its ‘remembrance’ in historical, socio-political, gender-oriented, and post-colonial contexts.
In Hope and Glory Stuart Maconie goes in search of the days that shaped the Britain we live in today. Taking one event from each decade of the 20th century, he visits the places where history happened and still echoes down the years. Stuart goes to Orgreave and Windsor, Wembley and Wootton Bassett, assembling a unique cast of Britons from Sir Edmund Hillary to Sid Vicious along the way. It’s quite a trip, full of sex and violence and the occasional scone and jigsaw. From pop stars to politicians, Suffragettes to punks, this is a journey around Britain in search of who we are.
Irish history (from the Easter Rising and Partition through to the recent Troubles) will come alive through letters, diaries and meetings with those who experienced first-hand the monumental changes of the past century.Forty years after the Provisional IRA was formed and British troops arrived in Ireland, the Troubles appear to be over; the future promising to be quite different from the past. But is that the reality of the situation? Recent events perhaps suggest otherwise, as old tensions rise to the forefront once more.Long divided by hatred and mistrust, Ireland's conflict has had a profound effect on an entire generation of people. Joshua Levine will delve into peoples' lives and experiences, and these stories will interlink to provide a subtle and fascinating evaluation of Ireland's turbulent past, as well as seeking to discover what the future might bring.There are those whose lives have been shattered, those who have tried to ignore the realities, those who have attempted to bridge the divide, those who fought, those who do not want to look back, those who do not accept the peace process, and those who have stayed apart from the conflict. All these come together in a vivid portrait of Ireland's past and present.
"The men who joined the Royal Flying Corps in 1914 were the original heroes of flying, treading into unknown territory and paving the way for later aerial combat. Joshua Levine has uncovered a wealth of previously unknown stories told by these men, covering the perils of training, the thrills of learning to fly, and the horrors of war in the air. The personal narratives reveal the feelings of the men who defended the trenches from above"--P. of cover.
Including a 60-minute DVD with rare contemporary footage taking you right into the battle, this title is an illustrated history of the deadly Somme offensive of 1916. It takes a look at the outbreak and progress of this bloody war, with reasons behind it, its impact and aftermath.
The first reference book to deal so fully and incisively with the cultural representations of war in 20th-century English and US literature and film. The volume covers the two World Wars as well as specific conflicts that generated literary and imaginativ
From one of our most distinguished historians, an authoritative and vivid account of the devastating World War I battle that claimed more than 300,000 lives At 7:30 am on July 1, 1916, the first Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches along the Somme River in France and charged out into no-man's-land toward the barbed wire and machine guns at the German front lines. By the end of this first day of the Allied attack, the British army alone would lose 20,000 men; in the coming months, the fifteen-mile-long territory along the river would erupt into the epicenter of the Great War. The Somme would mark a turning point in both the war and military history, as soldiers saw the first appearance of tanks on the battlefield, the emergence of the air war as a devastating and decisive factor in battle, and more than one million casualties (among them a young Adolf Hitler, who took a fragment in the leg). In just 138 days, 310,000 men died. In this vivid, deeply researched account of one history's most destructive battles, historian Martin Gilbert tracks the Battle of the Somme through the experiences of footsoldiers (known to the British as the PBI, for Poor Bloody Infantry), generals, and everyone in between. Interwoven with photographs, journal entries, original maps, and documents from every stage and level of planning, The Somme is the most authoritative and affecting account of this bloody turning point in the Great War.