Martin Middlebrook's The First Day on the Somme is a compelling and intensely moving account of the blackest day in the history of the British army. On 1 July, 1916, a continuous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk slowly towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by thick barbed wire. By the end of that day, as old tactics were met by the reality of modern warfare, there had been more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatalities.
Martin Middlebrook's now-classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources from the time, and on the words of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror, killed as much by the folly of their commanders as by the bullets of their enemies. Martin Middlebrook is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the author of many important books on military history including The Kaiser's Battle - March 1918, The Falklands War - 1982.