“I feel one can say with some conviction that no man should willingly leave his home to fight, wound, maim or kill other men about whom he knows little and whom he certainly does not hate. When all men refuse to commit such follies the foundations of a true civilisation will have only just started to be laid.”
- Sam Sutcliffe, circa 1974 (extracted from War: The Somme, Part Five of this memoir)

Amazon Reviews

In addition to comments sent directly to me (Sam's son and editor, Phil) these are the reviews displayed on Amazon UK and USA at time of writing (December 5, 1916). With FootSoldierSam blog's usual strenuous honesty I'll add that, of course, several of these were written by friends, but also most came from people completely unknown to me. As with the other comments, none have been omitted – nothing unfavourable's come in yet is the truth, but you'll read it here when it does. Amazon links included if you want to check the reviews - and, preferably, buy the book! (The ebook is available everywhere through Amazon or FootSoldierSam, but at the moment the print edition comes only through Amazon UK or through me; as I say on all such occasions, all proceeds to the British Red Cross and, naturally, more per copy if you buy direct through me.)


Amazon UK reviews of Nobody Of Any Importance, the full Memoir (some Amazon UK reviews of the Gallipoli excerpt follow, then some Amazon USA reviews of the full Memoir)

5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute for all those who died. 20 Aug 2014
By B. Keyte
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An absorbing, saddening but also an edifying read. I’d thought myself reasonably familiar with the horrors of WW1 from TV, books and other media, but this one really hit the button. Yes, Sam was just an ordinary boy of no importance as were all the others who served as ‘rankers’, but they were all individuals with thoughts and feelings, fears and hopes and in this account, we get to know the mind of just one of them. The absence of over-sensational descriptions is very effective; he just tells it how it was – and that was terrible enough. By the end I really felt I’d got to know this young man and appreciated his honesty, his principled nature. Also his sense of humour and sometimes cutting irony. Good editing too from his son, with very useful notes and explanations, not easily accessible on my elderly Kindle unfortunately; a paper edition would be very welcome!

5.0 out of 5 stars as well as uncannily good recall of what he observed even as a young ... 23 Sep 2014
By Hilary Pettigrew
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very remarkable book. It provides a highly detailed first hand account of front line experience of action from the ranks rather than from an officer. Sam the foot soldier had extraordinary powers of observation, as well as uncannily good recall of what he observed even as a young child. These qualities contribute to a sense of immediacy and authenticity that make for powerful reading.
Firstly, Sam tells about his childhood which whilst materially deprived was rich in many other ways. He describes people, what they looked like, what they wore, how they moved and spoke in a way which I thought might prove tedious over the length of the book but rather was a constant delight. Buildings, interior and exterior, shops, streets, scenery and weather are all described in surprising detail. To say that he takes you into his world sounds like such a cliche, but sometimes it does feel more like watching a film than reading a book.
As his story proceeds we find that not only does Sam have surprisingly sharp senses and ability to report what he sees, hears, smells, but his perception of things less apparent is also unusual, especially in one so young. I am thinking here of the way he notices the behaviour of people and the more subtle nuances, drawing from this an understanding of inter, intra and group dynamics which adds a significant dimension to the book.
As other reviewers have noted, Sam tells it like it is. He tells us facts and is sparing with his opinions. He seeks to be even handed and his integrity and compassion are strongly present in his writing. Sam is honest about the extremes of the appalling suffering he endured, and yet the book is full of humour, wry comment and passages about times when he had some fun and life was good.

5.0 out of 5 stars before arriving at some of the worst places of the war 13 Sep 2014
By Quinbus Flestrin
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand the First World War and society at the time. Perhaps the most remarkable sentence in the book is the last: 'I was just 21'. The events that are accounted seem enough for several lifetimes. Sam Sutcliffe volunteered at 16 and lied about his age. He was enlisted and went through the usual trainings and transfers, through Malta and Egypt, before arriving at some of the worst places of the war. The names are enough to make one wonder how he came through it -- Gallipoli, the Somme, Arras -- not to mention prison camps set up by the retreating Germans. And it is because he is 'nobody of any importance' that the book has such power. This is not the account of one of those in command who could see (perhaps) what was going on, but a meticulous record of a simple squaddie who relies on his wits and his resourcefulness to get through whatever is thrown at him.
But perhaps he is not a 'simple squaddie'. His power of recall of the details of his life make the book continuously interesting. On subjects such as the importance of the Boy Scout movement in the years leading up to the war, the tricks one had to get up to even to feed in the prison camps, the behaviour of both officers and guards, many insights into the daily business of soldiering.
It's a pity his fastidiousness in not mentioning too many specific names slightly lessens its usefulness as historic record, but his son has supplied a fair number and more research might well tie the actions down exactly.
It's quite a long book, but it is never dull, and for an insight into the life of the British soldier din many theatres of war its information can be found nowhere else.

5.0 out of 5 stars A really excellent account of life as a soldier during the first world war, 25 Aug 2014
By Prof Mark Cowling "Prof Mark Cowling" (Teesside University) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nobody Of Any Importance: A Foot Soldier's Memoir Of World War I (Kindle Edition)
Sam Sutcliffe volunteered to serve as a soldier at the beginning of the first world war. This is an account of his experiences,starting with his early life, but the bulk of the book concerns his expexperiences in Gallipoli, then on the Western Front,then as a prisoner of war It is a fascinating historical autobiography, ably edited by his son.The book would make an interesting film or [incomplete]

5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for WWI, 12 Aug 2014
By EngWood3 "ESL" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nobody Of Any Importance: A Foot Soldier's Memoir Of World War I (Kindle Edition)
I am in awe of the bravery and sacrifice. A story well told.

5.0 out of 5 stars An authentic, original and engaging voice, 2 Sep 2014
By minimus - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nobody Of Any Importance: A Foot Soldier's Memoir Of World War I (Kindle Edition)
An authentic, detailed, modest account of Sam Sutcliffe's experiences, beginning with his early life and voluntary enlistment as a boy of sixteen in 1914 doing the work of an adult footsoldier at Gallipoli, the Somme, and as a prisoner of war, until the Armistice in 1918.. His recall of people, places and the minutiae of daily life is extraordinary, and it is easy to read between the lines of this understated, wryly humorous account,;his innocence, intelligence and curiosity shine through and illuminate the most grisly scenes, and the losses of more than one good friend. I would love to have this book between covers, so I could see it on my bookshelf. A fine achievement in patient editing and loving composition by his son Phil.

5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, 1 July 2015
ByKindle Customer "Nick"
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
As an ex soldier who also joined early although my wars were nothing compared to WW1; I am avid reader of personal accounts. This book deserves to be a bestseller for the honest and sincere content. Only sad it came to an end!
Poignant, moving, can't praise it enough.

3.0 out of 5 stars An easy read of one man's war experience, 2 September 2015
By j williamson  
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An easy read of one man's war experience. However I feel the read could have been condensed by devoting the first two chapters to his pre military life and not the ten used in the book.

5.0 out of 5 stars If you only read one WW1 Memoir this should be it  
By Wolfie on 5 March 2017
I have studied WW1 extensively, having asked the question "Why did my grandfather and his brother volunteer in 1914?". Sadly, I was never able to ask the question directly. My grandfather survived the Somme injured but his brother did not survive Gallipoli. This book has come closest to answering the question for me and is an excellent read giving more personal detail and background than a lot of Memoirs.


Also some reviews for the Gallipoli e-book, an excerpt from Nobody Of Any Importance, price £1, from http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gallipoli-Soldiers-September-1915-January-Importance-ebook/dp/B00U6DZXVC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438880369&sr=1-2&keywords=nobody+of+any+importance

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 2 July 2015
By Kindle Customer
Verified Purchase
Superb. Bought the original memoir!

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 July 2015
By Caroline Blanchard
Verified Purchase

Very informative


5.0 out of 5 stars A personal insight into part of WW1. 11 Sept. 2015
By Malcolm C Stinton
Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant first hand account of the last few months of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915/16. I am sure that it means more to anyone who had a relative who fought there, as I did, where once more I feel the appalling conditions that the soldiers lived and died in. The author does not hold back about his criticism of the hierarchy and the 'them and us' situation that existed amongst some of the officers, particularly those at the top whose incompetence was all part of the failed mission.
It's not a long read, but then you are not paying much for it on Kindle. It does have the futility of war as a theme, yet above all it shows us how these young men survived in the worst possible conditions and how their human spirit saw them through.
Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in WW1 and particularly the Gallipoli campaign.

5.0 out of 5 stars A short but extremely informative account of a young lad's first taste of war at Gallipoli, 30 September 2015
By para3drop
Verified Purchase
An excellent detailed personal account of a 17 year old lad's experiences with the Royal Fusiliers at Gallipoli in 1915. He describes his experiences and events happening around him, highlighting his regiment's heavy losses through both enemy action and disease. An interesting disclosure is his ignorance of a 'Grand Plan,' and more importantly of how those in charge around him were implementing it. This young man, a lance corporal signaller displays a remarkable maturity in the way he copes with extremely arduous conditions. Although this is a very short story, it is very informative and well worth the read.

4.0 out of 5 stars 19 March 2016
By Mr Mh Burridge
Verified Purchase
good read

4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable, 6 February 2016
By Capt C
Verified Purchase
Enjoyable read.

5.0 out of 5 stars 23 March 2016
Verified Purchase
Great

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome  7 October 2016
By Pendragon
Verified Purchase
I now need to read the rest of this heroes story.

It is incredible what ordinary men did for comrades and the pride in themselves to do what was right and survive

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read December 2016
As with the sequel, an excellent read, graphically telling the pbi's lot at Gallipoli and the disdain most officers especially the higher ones had for them.
Published by doodad 



5.0 out of 5 stars riveting 31 August 2017
By Barry McLachlan
Verified Purchase
Couldn't put this book down. I was taken to the trenches and shown what went on in and around them. I have since bought the follow up book by this author.

Now, reviews on Amazon for the Somme e-book, The Somme: Through The Eyes Of A Foot Soldier Who Survived The Battlefield May-September 1916, an excerpt from Nobody Of Any Importance, price £1, from https://www.amazon.co.uk/Somme-Through-Survived-Battlefield-May-September-ebook/dp/B01CD4OQSM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1480956688&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Somme+a+foot+soldier

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 
By doodah on 29 Nov 2016
Verified Purchase
Wonderful, probably the best book on world war 1 that I have read so far, can't wait to read the others by the same author.

5.0 out of 5 stars Trouble free seller 
By Alan Charles Treumann on 25 Feb. 2017
Verified Purchase
Excellent service.

4.0 out of 5 stars  
By gromit on 23 Feb 2017
Verified Purchase
Good read.

5.0 out of 5 stars This was very good for me
By Harry B. on 13 April, 2017
Verified Purchase
This was very good for me. This man was underage when he joined the army, went through the Gallipoly campaign and the somme battles. Good reading for me. This story almost mirrors my Fathers experience in the First World War, he was in the engineers.

5.0 out of 5 stars  
By Amazon Customer on 15 May 2017
Verified Purchase
Good read.

4.0 out of 5 stars  
By Bazzer on 31 May 2017
Verified Purchase
Interesting historical read.

4.0 out of 5 stars  
By ron on 1 June 2017
Verified Purchase
Great and interesting book, loads of detail etc.

5.0 out of 5 stars  
By Roy on 13 August 2017
Verified Purchase
Vivid read explains the conditions and orders given which caused my grandfather and thousands to lose their lives !


4.0 out of 5 stars
By Barry McLachlan on 11 September, 2017
Verified Purchase
Having read the previous book to this, Gallipoli: A foot soldiers first battle, I was looking forward to this book. For the most part it was very interesting, but I can only give it 4 stars because of the ending, where it just petered out. I felt that I had been left hanging in mid air.

And… damn, a couple of differently negative reviews for The Somme, but I promised full disclosure and here they are:

3.0 out of 5 stars Title a bit misleading
By Superset66 on 19 November, 2017
Verified Purchase
Quite a good read though it has less than a page about the Somme battle itself. This is explained somewhat but still, it is part of the reason I read the book. I only paid 99p so can't complain really.

Editor's reply: I'll take the liberty of replying here since the reader found the title "misleading", which smarts – and is misleading! The title of the book as displayed on this blog and on Amazon etc reads The Somme: Through The Eyes Of A Foot Soldier Who Survived The Battlefield May-September 1916… and so he did. The Battle Of The Somme is usually described as lasting from July 1-November 18, 1916. My father was in and around the frontline with the Kensingtons at Hebuterne/Gommecourt and further south from May (the fighting had already begun before that, in fact) until late September/early October. Superset66 is obviously thinking only of the notorious July 1 itself, which my father covers in a couple of pages – because it's one man's view and experience, vivid and weighty though his brief account remains (also I think perhaps he either couldn't or couldn't bring himself to remember more of that uniquely terrible event). As referred to by Superset66, I broadened what my father wrote about that day with three pages of Endnotes drawn from the Kensington's War Diary and other sources. In sum, sorry Superset66 felt disappointed and appreciate him giving it three stars anyway.

2.0 out of 5 stars
By Gilbert Rutter on May 4, 2017
Verified Purchase
The notes from which the book is compiled lack atmosphere of the life in the trenches.


AMAZON USA

5.0 out of 5 stars Not only an amazing story, but much more November 28, 2015
By Deryk Walker
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An astonishing, first person look at the trials and tribulations of the WW1 Tommy. Not only an amazing story, but much more, as Sam Sutcliffe was under age when he voluntary enlisted in 1914! From the Glory Days of the beginning of WW1, when national fervour was running high and everyone wanted to do their part, to the grim reality of a POW's existence, via Galipoli and the Somme. This is an account that any student, not only of WW1, but of human nature should read. I found it riveting and well edited by Sam's son, Phil. Highly, highly recommended and all proceeds are going to the British Red Cross, which in itself is a reason to buy this book.

5.0 out of 5 stars A really great story that clipped along a good pace November 6, 2014
By Rachel Clibborn
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An extremely readable and interesting portrayal of the life of a young lad at the turn of the 20th century England, and his life as a soldier during WW1. A really great story that clipped along a good pace, I couldn't put it down. Fascinating to read about the little details of English life during this time period. A must read for anyone interested in Edwardian England and World War 1. As a teacher, I would highly recommend all history students read this book.

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Story October 4, 2014
By J. Nehring
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read. Very interesting.

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, February 3, 2015
By peter - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase
A very good book about life in the trenches in WW1. A first hand account from gallipoli to armistice day. An excellent job of writing with pertinent footnotes. One mans life through the sad affair of the war to end all wars


5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
By JB on October 1, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Excellent book about the trials and tribulations of a young naive teen and his involvement in WW 1.


5.0 out of 5 stars as he's given me one of the most in depth looks at life in this time period that I have had the good fortune to come across
By MB on April 17, 2017
Format Kindle Edition
Nobody of any importance? He's become one of the most important people in my research, as he's given me one of the most in depth looks at life in this time period that I have had the good fortune to come across. There is so much in this book it's hard to believe it was all lived by one man. Also, the wealth of information in the footnotes was a job well done in itself. It's a long read, but take the time. It's worth it.

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, December 29, 2016
By ja in va
well written. done well and well done.
no one of any importance? my arse. there are plenty of people in this world who think they are important. mostly they are not. it is peoplelike mr. sutcliffe here who are important. without them this world wouldn't work.
this is a great read. from a dickensian/victorian childhood through the nastiness of the great war this is a story well lived by the senior mr. sutcliffe and superbly written by the junior mr. sutcliffe. i have been reading history for 50+ years and this easily makes the top ten.
i may as well quit here. one cannot say enough good things about this one.


4.0 out of 5 stars
By Stephen L. Gunn "Max Brand Fan" on May 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
A great read for WW I foot soldiers viewpoint.


And the Amazon US reviews for the Somme excerpt e-book The Somme: Through The Eyes Of A Foot Soldier Who Survived The Battlefield, May-September 1916 at https://www.amazon.com/Somme-Through-Survived-Battlefield-May-September-ebook/dp/B01CD4OQSM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505941203&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Somme%3A+through+the+eyes+of+a+foot+soldier


4.0 out of 5 stars
By Glenn Freiman on December 3, 2016
Verified Purchase
good story, it gives a new perspective to the way from an actual survivor.

5.0 out of 5 stars
By Gerard Rooney on August 23, 2017
Verified Purchase
Very good read.


5.0 out of 5 stars
By John Bishop on August 28, 2017
Verified Purchase
More politicians need to read books on war because if they did maybe there wouldn't be any.


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