100 books like The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

By Gavin Stamp,

Here are 100 books that The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme fans have personally recommended if you like The Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Gothic Revival: An Essay in the History of Taste

Rosemary Hill Author Of God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain

From my list on the way that architecture reflects British history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I have wanted to know why things look as they do. Every object expresses what was once an idea in someone’s mind. Looking from things to the people who made them and back again, we understand both better. This single question has led me through a lifetime of writing about material culture, architecture, applied art and craft. I have written books about Stonehenge, the Gothic Revival and antiquarianism in the Romantic age. I also hosted a podcast series, for the London Review of Books

Rosemary's book list on the way that architecture reflects British history

Rosemary Hill Why did Rosemary love this book?

This was the first book about architecture I read and it remains one of my favourites. Clark wrote it in 1928, long before ‘Civilisation’ made him a television star and it has the freshness of a young man trying out ideas and working to understand something he doesn’t like. He was writing about Gothic architecture at a time when it was completely out of fashion. Clark’s subtitle ‘an essay in the history of taste’ is tongue in cheek because Gothic for his generation meant bad taste. Tracing its roots back into the eighteenth century Clark shows how it developed to embody the ideals of the Victorian age. 

By Kenneth Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gothic Revival as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First published in 1928, this informative study offers an introduction to the most influential and widespread artistic movement that England ever produced - the Gothic revival. It shows how buildings once neglected and laughed at could latterly be seen as having grace and artistic merit.


Book cover of Drayneflete Revealed

Rosemary Hill Author Of God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain

From my list on the way that architecture reflects British history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I have wanted to know why things look as they do. Every object expresses what was once an idea in someone’s mind. Looking from things to the people who made them and back again, we understand both better. This single question has led me through a lifetime of writing about material culture, architecture, applied art and craft. I have written books about Stonehenge, the Gothic Revival and antiquarianism in the Romantic age. I also hosted a podcast series, for the London Review of Books

Rosemary's book list on the way that architecture reflects British history

Rosemary Hill Why did Rosemary love this book?

Architectural history can be fun -or at least it can be funny. Lancaster, who invented the term ‘Stockbroker Tudor’ tells the story of the imaginary town of Drayneflete as it supposedly evolved from the days when ‘sabre-toothed tigers prowled though the tropical undergrowth where now stands Marks and Spencers’. This typical British town has its grand family, the Earls of Littlehampton, its notables the Parsley-ffidgets and a proud if not always very accurate sense of its history. Writing in 1949 Lancaster’s brilliantly witty drawings show the same spot over the centuries from Romans in togas dodging chariots outside the senate to women with pushchairs dodging cars outside the cinema.  

By Osbert Lancaster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drayneflete Revealed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Drayneflete Revealed


Book cover of Boom Cities: Architect Planners and the Politics of Radical Urban Renewal in 1960s Britain

Rosemary Hill Author Of God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain

From my list on the way that architecture reflects British history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I have wanted to know why things look as they do. Every object expresses what was once an idea in someone’s mind. Looking from things to the people who made them and back again, we understand both better. This single question has led me through a lifetime of writing about material culture, architecture, applied art and craft. I have written books about Stonehenge, the Gothic Revival and antiquarianism in the Romantic age. I also hosted a podcast series, for the London Review of Books

Rosemary's book list on the way that architecture reflects British history

Rosemary Hill Why did Rosemary love this book?

The 1960s saw Britain destroy more of its own built environment than all the bombing of the second world war. The car was king, the high rise and the shopping precinct transformed city centres. In many cases this is now seen as a disaster. Otto Saumarez Smith, one of the brightest of the rising generation of architectural writers, tells us how and why it happened, why it stopped and why he has come to love some of it. 

By Otto Saumarez Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boom Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boom Cities is the first published history of the profound transformations of British city centres in the 1960s.

It has often been said that urban planners did more damage to Britain's cities than even the Luftwaffe had managed, and this study details the rise and fall of modernist urban planning, revealing its origins and the dissolution of the cross-party consensus, before the ideological smearing that has ever since characterized the high-rise towers, dizzying ring roads, and concrete precincts that were left behind.

The rebuilding of British city centres during the 1960s drastically affected the built form of urban Britain, including…


Book cover of Leadville: A Biography of the A40

Rosemary Hill Author Of God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain

From my list on the way that architecture reflects British history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I have wanted to know why things look as they do. Every object expresses what was once an idea in someone’s mind. Looking from things to the people who made them and back again, we understand both better. This single question has led me through a lifetime of writing about material culture, architecture, applied art and craft. I have written books about Stonehenge, the Gothic Revival and antiquarianism in the Romantic age. I also hosted a podcast series, for the London Review of Books

Rosemary's book list on the way that architecture reflects British history

Rosemary Hill Why did Rosemary love this book?

Platt calls this ‘a biography of the A40’ and it is about the road that most people coming and going between London and Oxfordshire drive along without looking. The suburban houses that line it, many scheduled for demolition, some empty and some squatted, intrigued Platt and he began visiting them, talking to the inhabitants and finding out how they became stranded in this hinterland. Their accounts are funny, poignant and sometimes astonishing.  The A40 tells a story about the history of London and the visions and failures of urban planning in the 20th century.

By Edward Platt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Leadville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One afternoon in January 1995, as I drove along Western Avenue, I did what I had never done before: i parked the car in a side-street and walked on to the road..."

In Leadville, Ed Platt tells the story of Western Avenue from the optimism of its construction in the 1920s to its partial demolition seventy years later. It is a tale of the city and the traffic, of suburbia and the dreams of its inhabitants, and of our senseless and all-consuming love affair with the motor car.

'Platt has created a drama that is not only Orwellian in its…


Book cover of Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Spencer Jones Author Of Courage Without Glory: The British Army on the Western Front 1915

From my list on the British Army in World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

Spencer Jones is an award-winning historian who has written several critically acclaimed books about the British Army in the First World War. He teaches history at the University of Wolverhampton, serves as the Regimental Historian of the Royal Artillery, and is the President of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides.

Spencer's book list on the British Army in World War I

Spencer Jones Why did Spencer love this book?

The Battle of the Somme 1916 was the longest and bloodiest battle ever fought by the British Army. In popular imagination, the battle tends to focus on its first day – 1st July 1916 – when British forces suffered almost 60,000 casualties. Yet the battle was much more than this single, dreadful day and the fighting would rage for another 140 days. What happened? This meticulously researched book tells the full story of the Somme campaign and shows how it was planned and fought. It is immense in scope, taking the reader from the corridors of high politics to the smoldering shell holes of no-man’s land. Ultimately, it reaches provocative conclusions that may change your thinking about the battle.

By William Philpott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bloody Victory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 July 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The hot, hellish day in the fields of northern France that has dominated our perception of the First World War for just shy of a century. The shameful waste; the pointlessness of young lives lost for the sake of a few yards; the barbaric attitudes of the British leaders; the horror and ignominy of failure. All have occupied our thoughts for generations. Yet are we right to view the Somme in this way?

Drawing on a vast number of sources such as letters, diaries and numerous archives, Bloody…


Book cover of The Old Front Line

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November

From my list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novelist, essayist, and short-story writer W. D. Wetherell is the author of over two dozen books. A visit to the World War One battlefields in Flanders led to his lasting interest in the human tragedies of l914-18, inspiring his novel A Century of November, and his critical study Where Wars Go to Die; The Forgotten Literature of World War One.

W.D.'s book list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Why did W.D. love this book?

Masefield, before his 50-year tenure as Britain’s Poet Laureate, spent the war writing dispatches from the front. This slim book from l917 is his honest, soberly graphic description of what the Somme battlefield looked like after the fighting moved on—an approach that conveys war’s horrors without any moralizing or exaggeration.

By John Masefield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Old Front Line as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.


Book cover of Goodbye to All That

Andy Owen Author Of Land of the Blind

From my list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

War is perhaps the most extreme human activity. I have seen firsthand some of these extremes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now write about the philosophy and ethics of war and geopolitics, exploring some of the impacts and enduring truths that war and its conduct tell us about ourselves that might be hidden under the surface of our everyday lives. The books I have chosen here explore, with elegance, sensitivity, and sometimes brutal and unflinching honesty, what the battlefield exposes, showing us that there is both tragedy and comedy at the extremities of human nature, and without one, you cannot really truly appreciate the other.

Andy's book list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war

Andy Owen Why did Andy love this book?

Reading Graves’ biography, I get the sense of not just his wry humour but of his enduring pain. When he covers his First World War service, his jokes are cracked out of exasperation at the orders he receives that led to a succession of “bloody balls-ups,” and retold through a wince.

Graves’ biography has been described as “a version of events that told the poetic truth about his experiences…rather than being primarily fact-driven.” I believe all biographies are a form of fiction as our own memories are more often a product of our imagination than photographic recall.

Graves’ poetic retelling allows a more universal resonance beyond the trenches of the Somme than if he just stuck to the facts of that time and place, and resonated more for me because of this. 

By Robert Graves,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Goodbye to All That as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I: a hardcover edition of one of the best and most famous memoirs of the conflict.

Good-bye to All That was published a decade after the end of the first World War, as the poet and novelist Robert Graves was preparing to leave England for good. The memoir documents not only his own personal experience, as a patriotic young officer, of the horrors and disillusionment of battle, but also the wider loss of innocence the Great War brought about. By the time of his writing, a way of life had…


Book cover of The First Day on the Somme

Nick Lloyd Author Of The Western Front: A History of the Great War, 1914-1918

From my list on the Western Front of WW1 and what it was like.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nick Lloyd is Professor of Modern Warfare at King's College London, based at the Defence Academy UK in Shrivenham, Wiltshire. He is the author of five books, including Passchendaele: A New History, which was a Sunday Times bestseller, and most recently, The Western Front: A History of the First World War. He lives with his family in Cheltenham.

Nick's book list on the Western Front of WW1 and what it was like

Nick Lloyd Why did Nick love this book?

There is little that has not been said about this readable, engaging, and deeply moving account of the disaster on 1 July 1916 – the worst day in the history of the British Army. Middlebrook’s book was a revelation when it first appeared; utilising recollections and stories from veterans, whom Middlebrook met and interviewed, giving it an immediacy and power that captivated readers. The book charts the birth and development of Britain’s New Armies and their subsequent destruction on the Somme. Piece-by-piece Middlebrook examines how the battle was planned and prepared, before going on to detail the progress of the fighting at set-times, allowing us to grasp the ebb and flow of the battle. This remains a much-loved classic. 

By Martin Middlebrook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The First Day on the Somme as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The soldiers receive the best service a historian can provide: their story is told in their own words - Guardian

'For some reason nothing seemed to happen to us at first; we strolled along as though walking in a park. Then, suddenly, we were in the midst of a storm of machine-gun bullets and I saw men beginning to twirl round and fall in all kinds of curious ways'

On 1 July 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk towards dug-in German troops armed…


Book cover of Through German Eyes: The British and the Somme 1916

Spencer Jones Author Of Courage Without Glory: The British Army on the Western Front 1915

From my list on the British Army in World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

Spencer Jones is an award-winning historian who has written several critically acclaimed books about the British Army in the First World War. He teaches history at the University of Wolverhampton, serves as the Regimental Historian of the Royal Artillery, and is the President of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides.

Spencer's book list on the British Army in World War I

Spencer Jones Why did Spencer love this book?

At first glance, this volume may seem out of place in a list of books about the British Army. However, Christopher Duffy’s work is one of the most interesting studies of the British Army on the Somme to have emerged in recent years. By using German sources, particularly interrogation reports from captured British, Canadian and Australian soldiers, he paints a unique picture of the British Army as viewed through the eyes of its chief opponent. The result is an unusual, illuminating, and delightfully readable study.

By Christopher Duffy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through German Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The key battle of the First World War from the German point of view

The Battle of the Somme has an enduring legacy, the image established by Alan Clark of 'lions led by donkeys': brave British soldiers sent to their deaths by incompetent generals. However, from the German point of view the battle was a disaster. Their own casualties were horrendous. The Germans did not hold the (modern) view that the British Army was useless. As Christopher Duffy reveals, they had great respect for the British forces and German reports shed a fascinating light on the volunteer army recruited by…


Book cover of The Face of Battle

Clark McCauley Author Of Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know

From my list on to understand the experience of men in combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

Research Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College. Since the 9/11 attacks I have tried to understand how normal individuals, people like you and me, can move to terrorism in particular and political violence more generally. I retired from teaching in 2015 to have more time to write. I’ve written about genocide (Why Not Kill Them All? The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder), about self-sacrifice (The Marvel of Martyrdom: The Power of Self Sacrifice in a Selfish World), and about terrorism (Friction: How Conflict Radicalizes Them and Us). 

Clark's book list on to understand the experience of men in combat

Clark McCauley Why did Clark love this book?

Keegan popularized a new kind of military history, history focused on the experience of those “at the sharp end” of battle. Generals may as individuals have the most influence on the course of battle, but Keegan argues that, taken together, the men doing the fighting have more influence than the generals. He describes the experiences of men in three famous battles, and shows how tactics evolved but the demands of facing death remained all too familiar. I love this book for using history to find the psychology of men in combat.

By John Keegan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Face of Battle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


John Keegan's groundbreaking portrayal of the common soldier in the heat of battle -- a masterpiece that explores the physical and mental aspects of warfare

The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the…


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Interested in the Battle of the Somme, World War 1, and the Holocaust?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Battle of the Somme, World War 1, and the Holocaust.

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