At A.M. on July 1, 1916, a two-year-old World War I suddenly burst into furious action as the Allies launched a major attack against the Germans at the Somme. Fourteen divisions of British troops pushed over the top, thousands of them soon being annihilated by German machine gun fire. The attack, planned by General Douglas Haig, pressed on with terrific losses. This book describes how it came about, and how it was carried out. With an army made up largely of volunteers, and with a weakened French ally, Haig's forces kept driving harder and harder against a splendidly entrenched enemy. Through bullets, barbed wire, shells and bombs the Englishmen managed finally to knock their enemy back. Whole villages were destroyed, farm land turned to muddy, gruesome fields of death, and whole regiments died, before the offensive finally bogged down on November 18. Detailed descriptions, good photos, and quotations from famous English poets such as Sassoon and Flowman who witnessed the attack, make the Somme story immediate to us now. The final judgment that Haig continued to throw away troops needlessly against machine gun fire concurs with many other books on World War I.