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Publisher's Summary

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. 

©2013 Christopher Clark (P)2019 HarperAudio

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  • Barididum Kaakpo
  • 2021-12-31

Insightful and educational

This is a book which has laid out the entire sequence of events and attitudes the lead to the calamity of the Great War. I have seen some of the propositions made here, by Clark, in other books, however, I have found, in this book, the most complete layout of the European political atmosphere leading up to and including 1914.
Clark clearly lays out the public and private attitudes of the key decision makers at the time. He then, crucially, provides perspective by comparing those aforementioned attitudes with the attitudes of the general public in the different countries involved. As a further help to the reader, he also compares all of the previously established perspective with how the important events were written about after the fact; I guess as a way of correcting wrong impressions. It should also be said that Christopher Clark scrupulously provides evidence of public and private correspondences to backup his claims.
In summary, if you've ever wondered how the assassination, by Serbians, of the Archduke of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo led to the British fighting Germans in France, read this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Preston Rouleau
  • 2022-05-04

A Remarkable, Convincing Argument

As a former disciple of the Fischer school for some time, this has done the best job dispelling those assumptions and reinforcing the complexity, but not inevitably, of WWI

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  • Sandra Lorentzen
  • 2022-04-20

Should be required reading

As this analysis makes clear, all war is history. To believe that one incident is causal and blame is straightforward, while embraced by the short attention span of today's public, is no strategy for preventing war. May the Russian Ukraine war not head us down the same road with simplistic, shortsighted viewpoints.

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  • James A. Nietopski
  • 2022-03-12

Excellent, but

Excellent, essential, exhaustive - at times, overwhelming, a data storm. Be prepared to listen at a slightly reduced speed. This is one audio book best supplemented by a hard copy version.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-12-02

not ww1

I thought it was half lead up to and half war. Good book and narration although a tease.