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The Sleepwalkers - How Europe Went to War in 1914

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The Sleepwalkers - How Europe Went to War in 1914

Christopher Clark

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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. ‘A masterpiece.’ Harold Evans, The New York Times Book Review ‘The best book I have read this year, or indeed for several years.’ Simon Heffer, New Statesman, Book of the Year ‘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 ‘The arguments Clark sets out in this quite superb account of the causes of the First World War are so compelling that they effectively consign the old historical consensus to the bin . . . A masterpiece. 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.’ Simon Griffith, Daily Mail ‘There will be many books on the first world war as the 100th anniversary draws near, but few as illuminating as this one.’ Tony Barber, Financial Times, Books of the Year ‘Impeccably researched, provocatively argued and elegantly written . . . for Clark, the statesmen of 1914 were ‘sleepwalkers, watchful but unseeing, haunted by dreams, yet blind to the reality of the horror they were about to bring into the world’.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times, Books of the Year ‘Brilliant . . . Clark changes the balance between the great power dissension and the disputes on Europe’s fault line, the Balkans, by placing them centre stage.’ The Times Higher Education

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