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New Zealand-born Andrew Macdonald is a London-based author and military historian. His area of specialist interest is the First World War and, in particular, the role of New Zealand and other Dominion troops on the Western Front and at Gallipoli. Prior to becoming a historian he worked as a newswire journalist for Reuters in London and before that for the New Zealand Press Association. His career has taken him across Europe to the Middle East around Australia and New Zealand and on occasion to Far East Asia.
It took several million bullets and roughly an hour to effectively destroy General Sir Douglas Haig's grand plans for the first day of the Somme, 1 July 1916. By day's end, 19,240 British soldiers were dead, crumpled khaki bundles scattered across pasture studded with the scarlet of poppies and smouldering shell holes. A further 35,493 were wounded. This single sunny day remains Britain's worst-ever military disaster. Responsible were hundreds of German machine guns and scores of artillery batteries that had waited silently to deal death to the long-anticipated attack. Reviewing the day's events fully from, for the first time, both the British and German perspectives, Andrew Macdonald explains how and why this was a disaster waiting to happen. While laying the blame for the butchery squarely on widespread British command failure, he also shows that the outcome was a triumph of German discipline, planning and tactics, with German commanders mostly outclassing their opposite numbers.
The archipelagic kingdoms of Man and the Isles that flourished from the last quarter of the eleventh century down to the middle of the thirteenth century represent two forgotten kingdoms of the medieval British Isles. They were ruled by powerful individuals, with unquestionably regnal status, who interacted in a variety of ways with rulers of surrounding lands and who left their footprint on a wide range of written documents and upon the very landscapes and seascapes of the islands they ruled. Yet British history has tended to overlook these Late Norse maritime empires, which thrived for two centuries on the Atlantic frontiers of Britain. This book represents the first ever overview of both Manx and Hebridean dynasties that dominated Man and the Isles from the late eleventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries. Coverage is broad and is not restricted to politics and warfare. An introductory chapter examines the maritime context of the kingdoms in light of recent work in the field of maritime history, while subsequent chronological and narrative chapters trace the history of the kingdoms from their origins through their maturity to their demise in the thirteenth century. Separate chapters examine the economy and society, church and religion, power and architecture.