The shadow of the Somme has lain across the twentieth century. For many it is the ultimate symbol of the folly and futility of war. Others see it as a hallmark of heroic endeavour and achievement. This book offers a remarkably fresh perspective on the bitterly fought 1916 campaign; it also describes the later battles of the Somme in the Great War's final year, 1918. Using hitherto unpublished evidence from the archives of the Imperial War Museum, it tells its powerful and dramatic story through the letters and diaries of those who were there. Distinguished military historian Malcolm Brown has woven the many and varied accounts by well over a hundred participants - mainly British, but with not a few Germans - into a rich tapestry of experience. "Admirable ...If you can buy only one book on the Somme, it should be Malcolm Brown's powerful and scholarly account." - Richard Holmes, "Times Educational Supplement".