Customer Review

40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coherent and Readable Narrative, 27 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Hardcover)
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Firstly I am grateful for the reviews which precede this one. They display a depth of knowledge that I do not pretend to rival. I recommend that their opinions on the partiality of this account are taken into account by anyone reading this book, as I did.

The author states two clear objectives in his opening preamble.

The first is to present the participants shorn of the images of period clothing and grainy, jerky moving pictures that distance them from our modern world and instead let them appear as our near contemporaries, as indeed they are. In this he is wholly successful. The characters we meet are real and their impact undiminished by the period trappings, in marked contrast to the murky images from the past that are sometimes presented.

His second objective was to present a coherent narrative that explained how, rather than why, the events he describes led to the outbreak of war. There is no doubt that he has been selective in his choice of material with the intention of providing a plausible and connected series of vignettes that are easily followed by his readers. Objectivity and completeness inevitably suffers in this process but I doubt that a complete account is possible and their sacrifice is justified by the clarity that his account brings.

I found it a compelling and worthwhile read and look forward to discovering some alternative perspectives in the future.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 May 2013 10:34:15 BDT
Your review was very graceful towards the reviews preceding it.

Posted on 5 Oct 2013 08:03:35 BDT
I too found the preceding reviews really interesting and a useful caveat when reading. I have written as much in my (finally finished) review. It is a testament to the quality of Amazon reviews that there is so much intriguing criticism, which obviously stands up, to be followed up on. I particularly like Brigitte Muehler's (I think that was her name) which was a real page-by-page argument! I agree with you that the result was a good read and I too am interested to read some of the other books that will surely appear in the next few months given the upcoming anniversary.
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