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Andrew Roberts is a prize-winning historian, journalist and broadcaster. His books include Holy Fox (1991); the acclaimed Eminent Churchillians (1994); Masters and Commanders (2008); The Storm of War (2010) and Napoleon the Great (2014).
'Highly emotive reading' History of War. '[A] limpid, sober account both of the battle and of the personalities involved in its conduct' The Tablet. 'A very objective book and Roberts does not get bogged down in blame as many books about the Somme do ... [He] evokes the horror of 1st July 1916 by deftly balancing the facts with personal accounts and experiences' Eleanor Baggley, Centenary News. 'Roberts's succinct treatment is confined to the battle's first day ... Tragedy, not melodrama, is Roberts' commemorative homage to the bravery of hundreds of thousands who did their duty, fought, died, or were maimed' The New Criterion. 'Roberts explains, with great judgement, why it happened and how it happened ... He helps us to remember' i newspaper. 'A short, elegantly written and above all accessible book, solidly based on recent scholarship augmented by primary research ... this is a welcome, and often very moving, contribution to the debate on a battle that, a hundred years on, remains deeply controversial' Times Literary Supplement. 'The best thing about this excellent book is the depth of its detail. Once the battle proper starts, Roberts describes the fighting almost regiment by regiment' Literary Review. 'Roberts's vividly written, crisply authoritative account of the first day of the battle is full of details that stick stubbornly in the mind' Daily Mail. 'By dealing with just the first day of the battle, its strategic background, tactical thinking and significance, he has produced a most digestible narrative commentary' Country Life. 'Blending deep scholarly skill with a real literary talent' Dan Jones, Evening Standard. 'A well-written, clear, moving introduction to the slaughter on the Somme and its place in wider conflict' Sunday Times. 'The shattering story of the blackest day in the history of the British Army, the first day of the Somme Offensive, through the words of casualties, survivors, and the bereaved' Military History Monthly. 'The book's opening chapters on the strategy and tactics of the battle provide an excellent, succinct summary of the constraints within which it was planned. Roberts rightly stresses the subordination of British planning to that of the French, and sensibly eschews the British desire to say it was undertaken to save their allies at Verdun' Evening Standard. 'Let's be honest about Somme historiography; it either comes drenched in pitying tears or in posturing outrage, but both occlude. Roberts has played it straight with a clean and lucid overview so that one can actually see and understand what happened on that day' The Times. 'Always highly readable, gives a succinct and cohesive overview of the day, and is hearteningly even-handed' Spectator.