Review: Somme (Macdonald)

macdonald

Somme.

On this, the 101st anniversary of the ending of the Somme Offensive, we return for one last look at the battleground.

Macdonald’s book is not a new one, and because many other authors quote from it, much that it contains will not seem unique.

The numerous direct quotations are credited in the margins of the book, rather than below block quotes, or in footnotes or end notes. The usual kinds of small maps are scattered throughout, and there are period and modern black-and-white photographs of landscapes, people and monuments, but many of them are quite dark, and thus of limited utility.There’s a bibliography, a lengthy list of acknowledgments, and a brief index.

Macdonald’s lyric, literary writing style makes the harsh facts go down smoothly. The inclusion of a variety of poems, marching songs, and hymns help to create a sense of intimate feeling that is not often found in histories of this period of the war.

A late addition to my Battle of the Somme collection (some 14 strong, now), but I enjoyed the change of tone, which made it worth the wait.

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