Threre are sieges from Troy to Dien Bien Phu and battles for the high ground from Thermopylae to the Kasserine Pass. There are chance encounters like Gettysburg and set pieces of grand strategy like Waterloo. Few of these have had the horror of the Somme. If you want to know what an allied invasion of Japan would have cost at the end of World War II read this book and multiply the casualties by ten.
The Somme : heroism and horror in the First World War Martin Gilbert Somme, 1st Battle of the, France, 1916 New York : H. Holt, 2006 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xix, 332 p.,  p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 307-314) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
At 7:30 am on July 1, 1916, the first Allied soldiers climbed out of their trenches along the Somme River in France and charged out into no-man’s-land toward the barbed wire and machine guns at the German front lines.
By the end of this first day of the Allied attack, the British army alone would lose 20,000 men; in the coming months, the fifteen-mile-long territory along the river would erupt into the epicenter of the Great War. The Somme would mark a turning point in both the war and military history, as soldiers saw the first appearance of tanks on the battlefield, the emergence of the air war as a devastating and decisive factor in battle, and more than one million casualties.
In this account of one history’s most destructive battles, historian Martin Gilbert tracks the Battle of the Somme through the experiences of footsoldiers, generals, and everyone in between. Interwoven with photographs, journal entries, original maps, and documents from every stage and level of planning, The Somme is the most authoritative and affecting account of this bloody turning point in the Great War.