Author(s): Andrew Macdonald
On My Way to the Somme examines New ZealandÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs role in the Somme battles of 1916. In telling the story of New Zealand soldiers who took part in the bloody offensive Andrew Macdonald has used a wide range of primary and secondary resources, most of them hitherto unpublished. The book is written through the eyes of those who were there, but it is more than a narrative. At every turn Macdonald has endeavoured to explain how and why certain events unfolded, both at a micro and macro level. He has been careful to assess the strengths and weakness of the DivisionÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂs performance on the Somme and the military lessons it drew from fighting there. His book includes studies of command, training, discipline, morale, environment, and tactics of the day. It also looks at the role of Maori in the Somme offensive, and finishes with a chapter looking at the legacy of the 1916 offensive. It is a story of human endurance, growth and suffering in the context of a WW1 battle and afterwards. Yet, it is also a military history written within a conventional framework. On My Way to the Somme is very much part of the New Zealand story and is a key to understanding who we are as a people today. "This is a very worthy addition to war books, it's well done... It's dense and detailed and written in an accessible way, plenty here for the specialised reader and plenty in detail and colour and the material that's used will pull you in. Extraordinary piece of archival research." - Speaking Volumes, National Programme "On my way to the Somme is a vividly descriptive book. It is a 'blood, sweat, and endure' book. As such it is a hard one to read but only because of the realism that Andrew Macdonald manages to capture with some quite masterly prose. It is even harder to put the book down." - The Press "He (Andrew Macdonald) evokes the emotional and material immensity of the Somme and the war splendidly, and his narrative is steadily respectful and compassionate towards the men who fill it. Bring on his second book." - Canvas, NZ Herald
Andrew Macdonald is a journalist who specialises in finance and defence matters. He was educated extramurally at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand and holds a National Diploma of Business Studies. His interests include rugby league, tennis and motorsport. He is currently based in Wellington, at New Zealand Press Association, but his career has taken him to a number of locations throughout the country.