WW1 Centenary

Great War Centenary 2014-2018 website by Paul Reed

New Somme Books from Pen & Sword


Pen & Sword have been busy releasing a lot of Great War titles in recent weeks and this latest batch includes a number relating to the Somme both in 1916 and 1918.

104899The Somme Campaign by Andrew Rawson (Pen & Sword 2014, ISBN 978 1 78303 051 4, 306pp, illustrated, £25.00)

Andrew Rawson is the author of more than twenty books, several of which relate to WW1. He questions the need for yet another Somme book in his introduction but it is clear from the beginning that this is a gem of a title and unlike very few recent books on the battle. It looks at the 1916 Battle of the Somme on a day to day basis and examines in great detail the operations of units on that day. Each day is supported by one or more maps, which show the locations of formations, and there is analysis too which looks at the battle performance of the units as the fighting unfolded. For anyone wishing to follow a relative’s war on the ground this is an essential companion and the book is also a highly valuable source for battlefield guides who want to do their Somme tours justice. This is one of the best Somme books I have read in many years and it is nice to see the author mention that locations like Courcelette, often overlooked by modern visitors to the battlefields, are arguably more important as they were often the seen of protracted fighting. No Somme library is complete without this book and I cannot recommend it enough.

The book is available from the Pen & Sword website.

105138Blood In the Trenches by Captain A. Radcliffe Dunmore (Pen & Sword 2014, ISBN 978 1 783463114, 158pp, £14.99)

This is a reprint of a rare Somme memoir and originally published under the name When The Somme Ran Red in 1918. The author fought in the battle with the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in the 21st Division. The book begins in the often forgotten period before 1st July and gives a good description of the Somme during the ‘quiet’ period. The author then takes place in the attack on 1st July 1916 between La Boisselle and Fricourt. He survives for the first few weeks until gassed. This is an excellent memoir and surprisingly candid considering it was published right at the end of the war. Impossible to find in its original edition, this is worthy of any Somme enthusiasts bookshelves.

The book is available from the Pen & Sword website.

105561Visiting The Somme & Ypres: Battlefields Made Easy by Gareth Hughes (Pen & Sword 2014,ISBN 978 1 47382 139 2, 168pp, paperback, illustrated, £12.99)

The centenary has led to the publication of many new battlefield guides but this one is a little different in that it is written by an educator and aimed at fellow educators: although it is clear ‘general’ visitors to these areas will find it useful. The first part of the book looks at some general background with notes on how to plan a battlefield tour for a school group. It then looks at some suggested itineraries examine some of the key sites in the area and how these can be useful on school battlefield tours. It then suggests some locations beyond the Somme and Ypres such as Loos and Cambrai. The book is well written and packed with useful information and some good supporting images. Any teacher thinking of running their own or who is perhaps going on the WW1 Centenary Schools programme would find this very useful.

The book is available from the Pen & Sword website.

104528Retreat And Rearguard Somme 1918 by Jerry Murland (Pen & Sword 2014, ISBN 978 1 78159 267 0, 238pp, illustrated, £25.00)

Jerry Murland has made a name for himself with a series of ‘Retreat And Rearguard’ books and those looking at lesser known battlefields of the Great War. His work is always well researched and written. This is no exception and looks at the fighting on the Somme front in March 1918 in Gough’s Fifth Army sector from St Quentin back to the Crozat and Somme canals, and indeed beyond. This is a well constructed account, one of the best I have read on March 1918 since Middlebrook’s classic account, and it is well supported with material from a number of sources, including the National Archives. In this year of Great War books appearing almost every second I fear superb titles like this will get easily missed but I hope not as it deserves a wide audience.

The book is available from the Pen & Sword website.


Author: ww1centenary

Military Historian & author who works in Television: visiting & interpreting battlefields all over the world. Currently working on WW1 projects for 2014-18.

2 thoughts on “New Somme Books from Pen & Sword

  1. I just got Murland’s book on “Retreat and Rearguard Somme 1918” bcause my great uncle William George Gabain was killed there in Pargny (where he is buried) on March 24, 1918. I visited the bridge there and his grave last summer. I want to contact Murland.

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