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military history

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Christopher Clark.
Publisher Harper Perennial  
Format paperback
ISBN 9780061146664
Pages/Publication Date 697/2014
Daedalus Item Code 49127
This item is not available.
(Nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and one of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2013) On the morning of June 28, 1914, before Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on a Sarajevo street, Europe was at peace. Six weeks later, it was at war, and over the next four years 15 million people were killed, while four empires disappeared from the map. Though many histories have attempted to chart this descent into global conflict, Christopher Clark here gives us a book that "deserves to become the new standard one-volume account of that contentious subject" (Foreign Affairs). Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, where largely ineffectual leaders misread intentions, made assumptions, and blundered through a series of crises, until finally convincing themselves that war was the only answer.

"Clark's narrative sophistication, his philosophical awareness, and his almost preternatural command of his sources make The Sleepwalkers an exemplary instance of how to navigate this tricky terrain. The best book on the origins of the First World War that I know."London Review of Books

"This book is as authoritative as it is gripping.... Clark provides a vivid panorama of the jostling among Europe's policymakers.... The reader is rapt as 'watchful but unseeing' protagonists head for inconceivable horror."Independent (London)

"A thoroughly comprehensive and highly readable account.... The brilliance of Clark's far-reaching history is that we are able to discern how the past was genuinely prologue.... In conception, steely scholarship and piercing insights, his book is a masterpiece."NYTBR

"Easily the best book ever written on the subject ... a work of rare beauty that combines meticulous research with sensitive analysis and elegant prose. The enormous weight of its quality inspires amazement and awe.... Academics should take note: Good history can still be a good story."Washington Post

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