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JULY 2016

WELCOME

The mud, the blood, the relentless machine gun fire: to many, the battle of the Somme has come to represent all the most terrible aspects of the First World War. And with good reason: casualty figures on both sides were appalling and 1 July 1916 represents the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. Yet was it really just an exercise in futility – and does it stand apart from other battles Britain fought in two world wars? On the centenary, these are questions that Gary Sheffield, a leading expert on the battle, seeks to answer in our cover feature, on page 22. Accompanying articles consider the Somme from a German perspective (page 34) and from that of the ordinary soldiers (page 29).

Another milestone we’re soon to arrive at is the 50th anniversary of England’s sole World Cup triumph. It was a moment of joy (for parts of these islands at least) but came in a year when the swinging sixties seemed to be under threat, as the country faced strikes, demonstrations and violent crime. On page 58 Alwyn Turner surveys a year that was about far more than football.

Finally, this issue sees the return of our History Hot 100. For the past few months we’ve asked you to tell us which historical figures you are currently most interested in. A certain Yorkist king is still top of the pile, but who else has been making history waves in 2016? Turn to our special supplement in the centre of this issue to find out. Rob Attar Editor BSME Editor of the Year 2015, Special Interest Brand

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THIS ISSUE’S CONTRIBUTORS

Tom Holland The most decisive date in British history, in my opinion, is not 1066, but 927: the year that Æthelstan conquered York. It was a feat that was the making of England – and entitles Æthelstan himself to rank as its rst king. P Tom looks at the Anglo-Saxon king’s achievements on page 51

Anna Keay What I love about doing historical research is going straight to the primary sources: letters, diaries, account books. The picture that emerges from the raw material is o en really surprising. P Anna says it’s time to revise our ideas about the Duke of Monmouth on page 46

Gary Sheffield I’ve been visiting the Somme for many years. Recently I’ve walked some of the key ground – it is di cult to get a sense of the battle unless you know the terrain. P Gary re-evaluates the Somme for the battle’s centenary on page 22

*Subscribers to BBC History Magazine receive FREE UK P&P on this collector’s edition. Prices including postage are: £11.49 for all other UK residents, £12.99 for Europe and £13.49 for Rest of World (please note that unfortunately this special edition is not available for direct order in the US but is available in many good retailers now). All orders subject to availability. Please allow up to 21 days for delivery **Calls will cost 7p per minute plus your telephone company’s access charge. Lines are open 8am–8pm weekdays & 9am–1pm Saturday

MAGAZINE

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THE ANGLO-SAXON KING WHO MADE ENGLAND

SOMME

MAGAZINE

SPECIAL

BRITAIN’SBESTSELLINGHISTORYMAGAZINE£4.80 • July 2016 • www.historyextra.com/bbchistorymagazine

Richard III: history’s hot property But who has joined him in our 2016 Hot 100 list?

Whyitwasn’tBritain’s darkest day

PLUS P Soldiers’stories from the 1916 battle P The view from the Germantrenches

1966A NATION ON THE EDGE When strikes, murders, music and a game of football transformed the country

EXPLORE

How cotton fuelled the industrial revolution

ENGLAND’S GREATESTREBELWhy the Duke of Monmouth was a 17th-century hero

Facebook and Twitter twitter.com/historyextra facebook.com/historyextra

Collector’s Edition: The Queen Read our guide to the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II. Buy it for £9.99, and subscribers get free UK P+P*. Order at buysubscriptions.com/queen or call us on 0844 844 0250**

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