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The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by [Clark, Christopher]
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The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 285 customer reviews

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Length: 682 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

Formidable ... one of the most impressive and stimulating studies of the period ever published (Max Hastings Sunday Times)

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)

A lovingly researched work of the highest scholarship. It is hard to believe we will ever see a better narrative of what was perhaps the biggest collective blunder in the history of international relations (Niall Ferguson)

[Reading The Sleepwalkers], it is as if a light had been turned on a half-darkened stage of shadowy characters cursing among themselves without reason ... [Clark] demolishes the standard view ... 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 (Harold Evans New York Times Book Review)

Impeccably researched, provocatively argued and elegantly written ... a model of scholarship (Sunday Times Books of the Year)

Superb ... effectively consigns the old historical consensus to the bin ... It's not often that one has the privilege of reading a book that reforges our understanding of one of the seminal events of world history (Mail Online)

A monumental new volume ... Revelatory, even revolutionary ... Clark has done a masterful job explaining the inexplicable (Boston Globe)

Superb ... One of the great mysteries of history is how Europe's great powers could have stumbled into World War I ... This is the single best book I have read on this important topic (Fareed Zakaria)

A meticulously researched, superbly organized, and handsomely written account (Military History)

Clark is a masterly historian ... His account vividly reconstructs key decision points while deftly sketching the context driving them ... A magisterial work (Wall Street Journal)

This compelling examination of the causes of World War I deserves to become the new standard one-volume account of that contentious subject (Foreign Affairs)

A brilliant contribution (Times Higher Education)

Clark is fully alive to the challenges of the subject ... He provides vivid portraits of leading figures ... [He] also gives a rich sense of what contemporaries believed was at stake in the crises leading up to the war (Irish Times)

In recent decades, many analysts had tended to put most blame for the disaster [of the First World War] on Germany. Clark strongly renews an older interpretation which sees the statesmen of many countries as blundering blindly together into war (Stephen Howe Independent BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

From the Inside Flap

This is the pacy, sensitive and formidably argued history of the causes of the First World War, from acclaimed historian and author Christopher Clark. This book was the winner of the Financial Times Books of the Year 2014. It was a winners of Sunday Times and Independent Books of the Year 2012. This book was also the winner of the Los Angeles Times History Book Prize 2014. The moments that it took Gavrilo Princip to step forward to the stalled car and shoot dead Franz Ferdinand and his wife were perhaps the most fateful of the modern era. An act of terrorism of staggering efficiency, it fulfilled its every aim: it would liberate Bosnia from Habsburg rule and it created a powerful new Serbia, but it also brought down four great empires, killed millions of men and destroyed a civilization. What made a seemingly prosperous and complacent Europe so vulnerable to the impact of this assassination? In The Sleepwalkers Christopher Clark retells the story of the outbreak of the First World War and its causes. Above all, it shows how the failure to understand the seriousness of the chaotic, near genocidal fighting in the Balkans would drag Europe into catastrophe. Reviews: "Formidable...one of the most impressive and stimulating studies of the period ever published. " (Max Hastings, Sunday Times). "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)."A lovingly researched work of the highest scholarship. It is hard to believe we will ever see a better narrative of what was perhaps the biggest collective blunder in the history of international relations." (Niall Ferguson). "[Reading The Sleepwalkers], it is as if a light had been turned on a half-darkened stage of shadowy characters cursing among themselves without reason...[Clark] demolishes the standard view...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." (Harold Evans, New York Times Book Review). "Impeccably researched, provocatively argued and elegantly written...a model of scholarship." (Sunday Times Books of the Year). "Superb...effectively consigns the old historical consensus to the bin...It's not often that one has the privilege of reading a book that reforges our understanding of one of the seminal events of world history. " (Mail Online). "A monumental new volume...Revelatory, even revolutionary...Clark has done a masterful job explaining the inexplicable." (Boston Globe). "Superb...One of the great mysteries of history is how Europe's great powers could have stumbled into World War I...This is the single best book I have read on this important topic." (Fareed Zakaria). "A meticulously researched, superbly organized, and handsomely written account Military History Clark is a masterly historian...His account vividly reconstructs key decision points while deftly sketching the context driving them...A magisterial work." (Wall Street Journal). "This compelling examination of the causes of World War I deserves to become the new standard one-volume account of that contentious subject." (Foreign Affairs). "A brilliant contribution." (Times Higher Education). "Clark is fully alive to the challenges of the subject...He provides vivid portraits of leading figures...[He] also gives a rich sense of what contemporaries believed was at stake in the crises leading up to the war." (Irish Times). "In recent decades, many analysts had tended to put most blame for the disaster [of the First World War] on Germany. Clark strongly renews an older interpretation which sees the statesmen of many countries as blundering blindly together into war." (Stephen Howe, Independent Books of the Year). About the author: Christopher Clark is Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St Catharine's College. He is the author of The Politics of Conversion, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Iron Kingdom. He is widely praised around the world, Iron Kingdom became a major bestseller. He has been awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7266 KB
  • Print Length: 682 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (27 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008R96NIY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 285 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,614 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Sleepwalkers opens with a spectacular chapter on the regicide of the Serbian King Alexander and Queen Draga by Serbian Army assassins on 11 June 1903. Embroiled in the conspiracy, intrigue, plotting, purges, liquidations, thuggery, and assassinations that accompanied its quest to re-establish the medieval empire of Stepan Dušan, the kingdom of Serbia was the rogue state par excellence. Easily half of The Sleepwalkers’ text deals with the conflict between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia as it was acted out amidst the instability of the Balkans before the First World War. This does not cover new ground, but Clark does add more detail and insight into the many problems this region faced in the pre-war years.

In analysing the Balkan and other conflicts that have troubled Europe since the turn of the twentieth century, Clark is critical of conventional accounts that fault Germany for consistently pursuing ill-conceived diplomacy. Some of his criticisms are legitimate. Nevertheless, the assumptions behind his account of pre-war European diplomacy that the British Empire, France, and tsarist Russia could not tolerate a major power in Central Europe (evoking the old encirclement theories) are less convincing. Some of his arguments are dubious; others are plain wrong.

Clark maintains that the confrontation between the British and German empires over the latter’s naval build-up had run its course with the building of HMS Dreadnought in 1906.(p.148-50) This is hard to fathom. The construction of a German armada was not the only reason the British government decided to abandon its long-cherished principle of ‘splendid isolation’ (along with its longstanding German-friendly policies), but it surely played an important part.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent in depth analsis of the national, international and personal issues that culminated in the biggest catastrophe in the history of Europe. The author fills in the geo-political background of the previous decades that eventually led to the two armed blocs facing off against each other by mid-1914. The Balkan Wars of 1912/13 are described in detail and the variouc crises arising from them as well as those of previous years (Morocco, Italian invasion of Libya etc) are given their place in contributing to the conflagration. The personalities and foibles of the various statesmen involved is also taken into account. If ever there was an argument against monarchy then this is it, as preening 'royals' play with the lives of millions in vain attempts to uphold thier houses while at the same time their ministers and generals either egg them on or try to circumvent them. Highly recommeded for anyone with an interest in history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my favourite book on the Origins of the First World War. Truly fantastic.
Margaret MacMillan's 'the War that Ended Peace' is also good but Chris Clark pips it here in my view.
Margaret perhaps has the edge when analysing the characters and backgrounds of the key players involved. However I felt that Chris Clarke's was the more comprehensive account.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fabulous study of the causes of WW1's outbreak - all historians and those passionate about history should read it. I actually disagree with the final conclusions of this book but it's detailed investigation of the motivations across different elites in different countries and the stupidity of state-funded terrorism against others is shown incredibly clearly. Read it and then go to your local news channels - the parallels in the 21C are truly scary
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Essential reading if interested in European History and why the EU is so important for Europe.

Superbly well researched and well written.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Closely analytic and as a result absolutely gripping. 5 *
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Format: Hardcover
I have always been a Barbara W. Tuchman (The Guns of August) reader and always will; however Christopher Clark as a professor of modern European history can write rings around her.

I am not really a fan of histories that highlight dates and events as if they were somehow divorced from reality. Even U.S. history as it has always been here at least as long as I have. I have no concept of the antiquity of our world as other than what I can read about. I read several versions so I do not have to take one persons’ view or word.

Somehow I have a gap in history form a couple of thousand years ago until now. Yes I took schooling that gave names and dates, however I mean real history. I rely on writers like Jacob Bronowski (The Ascent of Man) to fill in the gaps.

Then one day Christopher Clark wrote The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. I already knew the bare bones of the reasons and even the details of many of the battles. It was required study in the U.S. Army as even though no two wars are alike the reasons and methods are universal.

I was surprised to find that hat I learned was not really about war; it was all the history about people and attitudes that created the modern states in Europe. It fills in the gaps from Homer to WW1 (Actually starts around1890's.) It even explains most of today’s Europe. Part of a team I work with on a daily bases is in Sofia (Bulgaria.) Now I understand their history as well if not meter than mine.

I must ward you that you will have to reread this book as it covers a great deal of time. Also rereading after you know what will happen makes more sense.

You will also have to take diversion breaks to pick up books on the individual people.
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