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Major & Mrs Holt’s Definitive Battlefield Guide Somme: 100th Anniversary (Hardback)

7th Revised, Expanded GPS Edition

WWI Somme Battlefield Guidebooks Holts' Battlefield Guides Great War Guides

By Major and Mrs Holt
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9781473887534
Published: 9th May 2016

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£25.00


Recommended holiday reading!

As featured on the BBC Daily Politics show – aired on 21/7/2016. Catch up on iPlayer now!

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The 100th Anniversary of the most publically aware battle of WW1 - the Battle of the Somme, will be on 1 July 2016 and every media form will be covering it from January onwards. The book has taken 20 years to mature from its first edition to this new 'Definitive' edition, the Seventh, each time being updated and expanded. It is a legacy that should be on every bookshelf.

The book is based upon over 30 years of traveling and writing about battlefields by two people - Major and Mrs Holt - who are credited with having started the modern era of battlefield tours - and were awarded the Somme Centenary Medal for their work in 'opening the doors to the battlefields' with their books.

This Guide Book is MORE than a guide book - Sir Martin Gilbert said, ' the Holts have raised the Guide Book to a new high level,' and ' the golden thread that runs through it (the previous Somme Guide) - is the focus that the Holts give to the stories of individuals'. It will therefore appeal both to General and to Specialist readers whether they travel to the battlefields or not.

This is not merely a guide book, nor a history book, but it is brimming with human interest stories of veterans' experiences, tales of bravery, comradeship, natural terror, literary illusions to poets who experienced the battles (such a Owen & Sassoon, Seeger and Sorley) ...

If you buy just one book about the Battle of the Somme, this is the one that you should have, written by those who know the area and the battlefield better even than the French themselves, and who tell its story from both humanistic and military standpoints

Well illustrated and a must if you are planning to visit this area, criss-crossed by trenches, cemeteries and other items of war.

This England, Spring 2017

The book takes an even handed approach to the combatants and lists cemeteries and memorials from all sides. I have already referred to one of the French cemeteries, and it is certainly worth the visitor visiting one of the German cemeteries such as Fricourt to make a contrast with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemeteries...

The Holts provide helpful guidance throughout the book on using French roads and motorways, parking, Tourist Offices and hotels and restaurants. It is hard to believe that this guide could be surpassed for thoroughness and the information available will allow both the new visitor and the experienced one to plan their routes, whilst the level of detail and information makes the planning both easy and a pleasure. As someone who has frequently visited the Somme and knows the area well, the book has highlighted some areas I will want to visit next time we go there.

Read the full review here.

The Western Front Association, Malcolm J Doolin

I have just received your 100th Anniversary edition of the Somme Guide. The details are unbeatable for both scope and depth. Your photography always kills the rest and the GPS coordinates are going to be copied by others but you are ahead of the times for the younger generation. When I look back at the 1st Edition Rose Coombes and see your book, the world has changed and how we expect more! This is all
in the last 50 years and in that time you cemented your reputation as the leaders in the field and I cemented the bronzes. Your major guide map is by far the easiest to read. Its so packed with info that one could spend ages just moving around the landscape via the map. You
cut out the data that you get stuck with in all maps and thus its easy to read.I like above all the personal parts in the book that add a human element to the narrative. It's always well measured and demarcated by block outlines in different colours.

Dr Ross Bastiaan, Memorial Designer

Highly recommended to anyone wishing to retrace events of World War I that pitted British and French armies against the forces of the German Empire...

... Whether someone simply wants to buy just one book about the Somme for reference or is planning to go in person, they should be armed with this book penned by foremost experts on the landscape and fighting that took place there.

Toy Soldier and Model Figure magazine, October/November - reviewed by Stuart A. Hessney

As featured in.

Wartime Memories Project

The 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme occurred on 1 July 2016. This book has taken 20 years to mature from its first edition to this new 'definitive' volume, the seventh, each time being updated and expanded. The book is based upon over 30 years of travelling and writing about battlefields by two people, Major and Mrs Holt, who are credited with having started the modern era of battlefield tours - and were awarded the Somme Centenary Medal for their working in 'opening the doors to battlefields' with their books.

It will appeal both to general and to specialist readers, whether they travel to the battlefields or not. This is not merely a guide book, nor a history book, but it is brimming with human interest stories of veterans' experiences, tales of bravery, comradeship and terror. If you buy just one book about the Battle of the Somme, this should be top of the list. It is written by those who know the area and the battlefield very well, and who tell its story from both humanistic and military standpoints. It also comes with a fold-out battlefield map to take with you on any tour of the area.

The Armourer, September/October 2016

As reviewed in

Express & Star

As reviewed in

Shropshire Star

'A detailed new guidebook...'

East Kent Mercury

As recommended by.

American War Memorials 32

After The 100th Anniversary of the most publically aware battle of WW1 - the battle of the Somme, will be on 1 July 2016 and every media form will be covering it from January onwards. The book has taken 20 years to mature from its first edition to this new 'Definitive' edition, the Seventh, each time being updated and expanded. It is a legacy that should be on every bookshelf. The book is based upon over 30 years of traveling and writing about battlefields by two people - Major and Mrs Holt - who are credited with having started the modern era of battlefield tours - and were awarded the Somme Centenary Medal for their work in 'opening the doors to the battlefields' with their books. This Guide Book is MORE than a guide book - Sir Martin Gilbert said, ' the Holts have raised the Guide Book to a new high level,' and ' the golden thread that runs through it (the previous Somme Guide) - is the focus that the Holts give to the stories of individuals'. It will therefore appeal both to General and to Specialist readers whether they travel to the battlefields or not.This is not merely a guide book, nor a history book, but it is brimming with human interest stories of veterans' experiences, tales of bravery, comradeship, natural terror, literary illusions to poets who experienced the battles (such a Owen & Sassoon, Seeger and Sorley) . ..If you buy just one book about the Battle of the Somme, this is the one that you should have, written by those who know the area and the battlefield better even than the French themselves, and who tell its story from both humanistic and military standpoints.

This amazing book is primarily intended for visitors to the First World War War Graves, and displays a remarkable devotion on the part of the authors, Major and Mrs Holt. If I was ever to visit the Thiepval Memorial, where my grandfather's name is inscribed, this is the one book I would need to take with me.

Books Monthly

It is an honour to recognise the work the Holts have done for nearly fifty years to make the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars accessible and visited, honoured and remembered.

Lady Gilbert

A fantastic achievement..... I'm bowled over by the degree of detail, information and range of photography.

Trevor Sturgess, Journalist

As featured in

Kent Life

As featured in.

Stand To! Western Front Assc No.106

The Holts have been publishing battlefield guidebooks for decades and this Somme100 edition of their popular Somme guide comes in a limited edition hardback format. The guidebook has been greatly explained with new photos, and extra information and locations, and also some battlefield walks, which is a good addition. This is a really high quality book with excellent images, and nicely presented, and the supporting map makes it the complete package for the first time visitor to the Somme battlefields. It is good to see the Holts being recognised for their work and this new edition is a welcome guidebook for all those going to Picardy this year.

www.somme1916.com

The book is literally packed with useful information about all aspects of the Battle of the Somme. For those who want to visit the battlefield without the burden of too many books on the subject this one will suffice. There is a good narrative here on the battle itself and numerous short vignettes about people, events and places. The books also gives useful tips on where to stay and eat and how to make the best of a visit.

Guards Magazine, Summer 2016 - Colonel W S G Doughty

The guide of Major Holt and his wife, with remarkable maps and regularly updated, is a reference for everyone who wishes to make a pilgrimage to the Battlefields of the Somme and to pay homage to the men of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth who fell there in such numbers.

The President of the French Republic

The guide of Major Holt and his wife, with remarkable maps and regularly updated, is a reference for everyone who wishes to make a pilgrimage to the Battlefields of the Somme and to pay homage to the men of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth who fell there in such numbers.

President of the French Republic

As featured in.

Family Tree Magazine July 2016

"Holt" and "battlefield tours" are as inseparable as "fish" and "chips" and "salt" and "pepper". Tonie and Valmai Holt have been conducting tours and writing about battlefields since a time when coach parties did not routinely clog up the roads of Picardy and Flanders and when there were still First World War veterans alive to say, "I remember the whizz bangs flying over here..."

I've upgraded; donated my 1996 copy of the Somme battlefield guide to my local Oxfam shop and replaced it with this new hardback, GPS-augmented edition. There is certainly a good deal more to this book though than just stiff boards and a few coordinates.

This is arguably the daddy of Somme guide books. There are six itineraries covered here, all of these quite extensive, and with selected walks covered within these itineraries. If you are looking for a book that focuses on the 1st of July, then you need "The First Day of the Somme - Gommecourt to Maricourt" by John Cooksey and Jerry Murland, and if you are looking for a book that will pick out the best Somme walks, then you need Paul Reed's, "Walking the Somme". The Holt's guide is larger is scale and socpe. It's certainly one for the glove compartment; a book to take along with you in case Messrs Reed's Cooksey's and Murland's walks are rained off; but much more than that as well. This is a book which will repay careful study before that planned Somme trip in order to make the most of the time in France.

The book is lavishly illustrated; key memorials and points of interest noted; key personalities picked out and remembered. There is a good index to this robust and heavy little volume and an accompanying fold-out battle map which will be very useful read alongside OS maps. Major and Mrs Holt have been doing this for a long while and you should feel comfortable in their hands

Paul Nixon, Amazon

Probably the best battlefield guide there is, with a superb map.

Amazon Customer

A great guide to the Somme, Nothing better available, You can do self tours with this book like myself. A must have book, Well put together. 1005 satisfaction.

Sommeguy, Amazon

As featured in

Kent Profile

'Major and Mrs Holt have mastered the secret of making the book very informative and a pleasant read.'

Essence Magazine

About Major and Mrs Holt

Major and Mrs Holt founded the first organisation to offer battlefield tours to the general public in the late 1970s. Since the 1990s they have been writing their series of guide books, incorporating all that they have learned from their experiences conducting thousands of people around battlefields. This series, designed to serve as companions for travellers, whether sitting at home or physically visiting the battlefields, includes detailed travel directions, military history, fascinating anecdotes and tourist information. The Holts share the writing of their books equally and conduct all their own research, spending many weeks on the ground as they prepare each new book or update previously published titles.

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