Author(s): Christopher Clark
One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.
Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.
Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe's descent into a war that tore the world apart.
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
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. 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. The Sleepwalkers was shortlisted for the PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize, and is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, French Prix Aujourd'hui, Cundill Recognition of Excellence Prize, Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Literature and the Braunschweiger Geschichtspreis.