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About the Author

Taylor Downing was educated at Cambridge University and is the author of The Cold War, Breakdown (about shell-shock in WWI) , and Churchill's War Lab. His books are 'vivid and fast-paced' (Financial Times).


An impressive, balanced and often deeply moving book. As the Somme's anniversary approaches, anyone who wishes to understand it and its terrible consequences should buy Breakdown * The Times *
The tragic fate of the Lonsdales forms one of the most telling subplots in Breakdown, the historian Taylor Downing's superb account of the military's response to the epidemic of shell shock . . . Downing manages to offer a useful perspective by unpacking the pivotal role the cataclysm in the Somme played in the birth not just of military psychiatry, but a new era in our understanding of mental health . . . Downing's book is a necessary remind that trauma is an injury, and not a sign of weakness * New Statesman *
This is a thoughtful, intelligent book . . . Thoroughly researched, highly readable and highly recommended * Military History *
[A] humane and intensely moving book * Telegraph *
What is innovative about Downing's approach is the interleaving of "the crisis of shell shock" with the military history of the Somme. He tells both histories concisely and with good balance . . . Downing is too clever a historian to rehearse cliches about things never being the same again' -- Daniel Todman * Financial Times *
This vivid, compassionate account draws on harrowing first-person testimony to chronicle the sometimes humane, but more often cruel and uncaring, treatment of damaged men, both in wartime and its aftermath * Daily Mail *

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