‘In Elegy, the brilliant historian Andrew Roberts has written a masterly and moving account of the Somme’s first day to honor its centennial. It is an evenhanded, elegant overview and does admirable justice at once to the complexity of the battle and the bravery of the men who fought it. Roberts, in his solicitude for the men who underwent this terrible trial, as well as his solid, judicious, revelatory scholarship, proves himself a worthy historian of their embattled good faith.’ Edward Short, City Journal

Elegy is a short, elegantly written and above all accessible book, solidly based on recent scholarship augmented by primary research. A welcome, and often moving, contribution to the debate on the battle that, one hundred years on, remains deeply controversial.’
Prof Gary Sheffield, Times Literary Supplement

‘The distinguished British military historian and biographer Andrew Roberts’s succinct treatment is confined to the battle’s first day and entitled Elegy, at first glance a misnomer given the usual vocabulary—disaster, catastrophe, outrage—associated with the battle. But tragedy, not melodrama, is Roberts’ commemorative homage to the bravery of hundreds of thousands who did their duty, fought, died, or were maimed—and mostly failed to achieve long-term British objectives. Roberts is adamant that the dead were not betrayed by their generals, at least not deliberately and callously so, and that ultimately they contributed to the Allied victory.’ Victor Davis Hanson, New Criterion

‘Andrew Roberts’s immaculately researched and sensitively written account of the Somme concentrates on that bloodbath, but with a detailed account of the planning that led up to it and of the aftermath as well. Roberts’s book is an authoritative account of the most horrific and costly battle in Britain’s history.’ Simon Heffer, Literary Review

‘This is a profoundly moving book. As always with Mr Roberts, the military history is lucid. He understands how to turn complexities into narrative. But this volume goes further: much further. ‘The Last Post’ transmuted into prose. Andrew Roberts says that he wept while writing his account of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Many readers will follow his example. Our author has not just produced an elegy for doomed youth, but an elegy for a vanished age. Their deeds ought to be commemorated as long as the British race endures. This book makes an enduring contribution to that national memorial.’ Bruce Anderson, Boisdale Life

‘A brilliant and sensitive investigation into the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army.’ Kate Williams, Metro

‘A particularly emotive and illuminating addition in the book is Roberts’s exploration of epitaphs, which reflects the book’s dual purpose – it is both a historical study and an elegy. This is woven into the text with subtlety and avoids tipping what is a very accurate and fascinating book into the realms of sentimentality. Part of this book’s power lies in reminding the reader that these men were real men who lived and breathed, and this inclusion of the epitaphs makes that difficult to forget. In Elegy, Roberts evokes the horror of 1st July 1916 by deftly balancing the facts with personal accounts and experiences. He brings the focus on the people who fought and died, who are not just numbers relegated to the history books, but men who had hopes, dreams and plans.’ Eleanor Baggley, Centenary News