The Sleepwalkers

The Sleepwalkers

How Europe Went to War in 1914

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York :, Harper,, 2013.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780061146657
Branch Call Number: 940.311 CL
Characteristics: pages ; cm


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Oct 30, 2019

Every new history book needs a hook to sell itself, and The Sleepwalkers's is everyone was equally to blame for World War I. I'm puzzled as to how this a new take, as it has been a standard theory for years, both after WW I and after WW II. Some historians whisper, or out and out state, that the Allies were to blame for the rise of Hitler, because they were mean to Germany after the Great War. You probably heard this in high school. The fact remains that German territorial ambitions in Europe, or fears about them, were one of the main causes of WW I, and the Franco-Russian Alliance of 1894, the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain in 1904, and the convention of 1907 between Britain and Russia were intended to rein Germany in. The Sleepwalkers is supposedly a balanced view, and it mostly is, but readers should be aware that Christopher Clark has written two books highly sympathetic to the rise of Prussia. If you read this, I recommend Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August for another view.

IndyPL_JasonD Mar 21, 2019

A great read for all interested in WWI history. This is an account of events and provocations that lead up to the war, all actors at fault in their different ways--a great resource in the never ending investigation of diplomatic underpinnings and causes of war.

Feb 06, 2015

This is a very thorough book but because it is so thorough it was not easy to get through. Definitely eye opening and very interesting in some parts.

The situation was so complex and multilayered and the actors had complex intentions with regards to each other.

Dec 12, 2014

way too detailed. Failed the 50 page test.

Jul 18, 2014

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark was quite impressive; at least to me who knew very little about how the First World War started. Of course, I became interested because this is the centenary of the beginning. I more or less read the book during the very same period - a century later- that the book covers: 28 June to 04 August 1914. The beginning and the cause of the beginning was certainly very complex, to say the least.

Jun 18, 2014

Quite an eye opening book: not easy to read because it is so thorough; but fascinating as it brings to life many characters, major and minor. I haven't realized just how complex and loaded the situation in Europe has been at the turn of the century, and how strange alliances have been created amongst countries of Europe and beyond. The narrative in three parts starts before the turn of the century, and culminates in July 1914 events and their immediate aftershock. The title fits; most history enthusiasts likely know why.

Feb 14, 2014

There are over 25000 books, articles and documents on the First World War. If you have time for reading only book, Mr Clark's well documented and balanced book is the one!

KenJohnson Nov 12, 2013

Recommended! An excellent description of how politicians and rulers
impose their narrow beliefs on history resulting in the deaths of millions. WWI resulted from the lack of will to communicate, not the lack of methods.

It wasn't the Serbs or the banks which lead to the war - it was the leaders going willingly along a path to believe the war would not happen or that it could be won.

Aug 15, 2013

To read this book is to read the status quo, that history which they wish for the masses to accept, their popular story. Not to know that Paul Warburg was the vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve (he was offered the chairmanship, but turned it down as being "too public"), and a presidential advisor, while his brother, Max Warburg, was the head of the German central bank and advisor to Kaiser Wilhelm. Not to understand the reasons for the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and what documents had been placed in his possession leading up to it (thanks to lightning striking a horse-riding courrier), is to accept the popular fantasy. Negative rating.

May 08, 2013

very easy read, If you like this subject this is one you must read.


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