“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 his Memoir)

Reviews – Amazon readers on Nobody Of Any Importance and excerpt e-books

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, price £5 (review from Amazon US and also reviews of the excerpt "e-bookettes" follow)

5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting tribute for all those who died. 
By B. Keyte on 20 August, 2014
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 ... 
By Hilary Pettigrew on 23 September, 2014
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 
By Quinbus Flestrin on 13 September, 2014
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
By Prof Mark Cowling on 25 August, 2014 "Prof Mark Cowling" (Teesside University) 
Verified Purchase
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
By EngWood3 "ESL" (London, UK) on 12 August, 2014 
Verified Purchase
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
By minimum on 2 September,  2014
Verified Purchase
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 Very good 

Verified Purchase on 3 February, 2015
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. Ond mans life through the sad affair of the war to end all wars...

5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING
ByKindle Customer "Nick"on 1 July, 2015
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
By j williamson on 2 September, 2015
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 An incredibly good memoir! 
By Amazon customer 18 June, 2016
First let me say that I thought I had read almost everything written by soldiers from WW1 that was worth reading. This book proved how wrong I have been. It reallytells an amazing story of one soldier's life in great detaikl from his earliest years before the war right through his service in  malta, Egypt, Gllipoli (twice), in prison camps and post-war. A tremdendous book well worth reading!

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.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent well written this man was incredible 
By Derk on 9 June, 2018
Verified purchase
Excellent well written this man was incredible, can't help thinking peoples mindset was very different in those times. but I suppose before the advent of modern medicine life expectancy was pretty much a lottery anyway.

5.0 out of 5 stars Opens a door on a bygone age
By Mick on 6 July, 2019
Verified purchase
Excellent well written this man was incredible, can't help thinking peoples mindset was very different in those times. but I suppose before the advent of modern medicine life expectancy was pretty much a lottery anyway. I enjoyed reading this book so much I bought it for my Father, for no other reason than that I was eager for him to read it.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this book
By Mr Stephen Hw Baker on 15 November 2019
Verified purchase
I love this book, it is quite humourous, I enjoyed the background from birth to joining up and beyond, I would be so proud if this had been my grandfather.

Amazon USA

5.0 out of 5 stars Not only an amazing story, but much more 
By Deryk Walker on 28 November, 2015
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 
By Rachel Clibborn on 6 November, 2014
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 
By J. Nehring on 4 October, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read. Very interesting.

5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
By peter on 3 February, 2015
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 1 October, 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 17 April, 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
By ja in va on December 29, 2016
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
A great read for WW I foot soldiers viewpoint.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent description of WW1 common soldier April 18, 2018
By Amazon Customer
Describes the era before the war very well. The underage enlisted man sees several theatres and ends as a POW then a guard of same. I read it in one go and am impressed. Also donated 20 bucks to Red Cross in his name.
[A special thank you to this anonymous reader in Sam's name!]

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

5.0 out of 5 stars 
By Caroline Blanchard on 6 July, 2015
Verified Purchase
Very informative

5.0 out of 5 stars A personal insight into part of WW1
By Malcolm C Stinton on 11 September, 2015
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

By para3drop on 30 September, 2015
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.

5.0 out of 5 stars
On 23 March, 2016
Verified Purchase

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 
By Pendragon on 7 October 2016
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 
By Doodah on 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.

5.0 out of 5 stars riveting 
By Barry McLachlan on 31 August, 2017
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.

4.0 out of 5 stars good read 
By John on 1 February, 2019
Verified Purchase
Good story and interesting.

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

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

3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK
By Mazarinon 11 September 202
Verified Purchase
Does what it says it does. Gives a vivid insight into a soldier's experience in a horrible conflict. Sadly, where it falls down is that it's just another war experience, and there are hundreds out there. I will not be buying the accompoanying extracts or the full book.

Amazon UK 
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 Purchas,
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 Gallipoli 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 !
5.0 out of 5 stars  
By Flynn on 18 December 2018
Verified Purchase
A very good read

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.

5.0 out of 5 stars
By Robert Lawrence on 27 June, 2018
Verified Purchase
Always interesting reading

4.0 out of 5 stars The Somme
By Hajisan on 27 June, 2018
Verified Purchase
Good read, both my grandfathers took part but never spoke of it ,so to me very enlightening and possibly educating .

5.0 out of 5 stars Great tale, well told
By Kindle Customer on 17 September, 2018
Verified Purchase
Great tale, well told. Authentic, gritty view from the lower ranks. Typical of the best of British Tommies - no glory, just a determination to 'get the job done. Splendid men.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
By Brian W on 8 December, 2018
Verified Purchase
Very well written first hand account of the hell of trench warfare.

5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best
By Mr Shaun Jinks on 21 May, 2019
Verified Purchase
One of the best personal books of the first world war that I have read. a book from a Tommy at the front

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book from the Ordinary Squaddie's point of view
By A Robertson on 31 March, 2020
Verified Purchase
It was comforting to read an ordinary soldiers point of view of the First World War. As is normally the case all we are ever hear or read of in this war are experiences of Officers or Generals and then they are never anywhere near the truth.of the real blood guts and thunder of the men who fought in the trenches and No Man's Land.
This book says it all of the normal squaddie.
Thank you to the relative who composed it and for his brilliant efforts of putting it together. I feel you father was one of the luckiest men in WWI, when that RSM called him to his office and handed him the piece of paper, telling him he was out of it. His lads he left behind must have been pretty choked having lost a first class NCO. 
[Thanks for A Robertson's kind thoughts for me, but credit where it's due, as ever: my father "composed" the book i.e. wrote it – I (Sam's son Phil) edited and published.]

And… damn, a few 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 later 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 wouldn'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.

3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Ms J Measham 22 October, 2017
Verified Purchase
Not a very good account of life at the front. Needs more detail.

3.0 out of 5.0 stars Disappointing
14 March, 2019
Verified Purchase
To make sense of a story that involves battles, you really need to know names
of officers, places, other units and dates albeit approximate. The book was
deficient in these major elements which sadly detracted from the value of this
mans account. A brave man, no question and a pity you need to read the sons researches, at the end of the book to get a better idea of the places he fought at.

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.

Editor's reply: A second liberty from me on the reply front, to explain as per the book's foreword that the text is not compiled from notes, it's a full narrative written by my father, edited by me (the original was spoken on to tape at first, then typed and, by the last year or so – handwritten)

2.0 out of 5 stars Have Read Better
2 December, 2018
Verified Purchase
Written too much in someone else's words and their interpretation.  Too generic. Did not enjoy as I thought I would.

Editor's reply: Again feeling snippy because this is factually wrong, so I'm drawn to stress that there are no "someone else's words" in the Memoir itself, only my father's, all 250,000 of them. Likewise the interpretations, only his. I wrote the Foreword, Afterword, and Endnotes. Otherwise, Verified Purchaser entitled to opinion… as we authors/editors say through gritted teeth.

Amazon USA
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.

And just the reviews so far for the 1918/Arras/POW/the peace e-book 

A Foot Soldier's War – The Survivor : Arras: The fight to the last bullet… The starving POW… The long walk home… The peace begins December 1917 – July 1919 

5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read
By Steve White 13 December, 2017
Kept me intrigued all the way through the book, sometimes sad, sometimes funny. Not to be missed, couldn’t put it down.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book
By John Harvey 4 February, 2020
a very good book

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