Battle of the Somme (1)
I’m giving away a copy of Joe Sacco’s The Great War, what NPR called a “panorama of devastation,” an accordian-fold book, 24 feet long, about day one of The Battle of the Somme. Scroll down to enter.
The Battle of the Somme began 100 years ago today.
The Great War started on a summer’s day just under two years before, and proved a time for the poets: here was a noble war with clear goals and lofty convictions, a chance to stand up for Right and Home.
found it tragically impossible to understand machine guns, barbed wire, and high explosives, far less mustard gas and tank warfare. A cavalry regiment was standing by when the Somme began, ready to sweep in past the infantry. As if a mounted horse had a chance through the pitted ground of No-Man’s Land.
The Somme began with one of the bloodiest days in history—certainly for the British Army composed largely of newly trained Kitchener’s Army volunteers. They suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, a third of them deaths. And that first day was followed by 140 more, all over the same ground.
Millions died and suffered terrible wounds because of the ill judgment of the military command. Two years in, even the most romantic of poets had to admit, “In moments like these, words are futile.”
Joe Sacco’s The Great War is a modern Bayeux Tapestry on paper, a detailed panorama of the first day of the Somme battle. If you’d like to enter for my drawing of Joe Sacco’s gorgeous The Great War, pop over here before midnight Monday.