The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (Hardcover)
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.
“An important book. . . . One of the most impressive and stimulating studies of the period ever published.”
“Excellent. . . . The book is stylishly written as well as superb scholarship. No analysis of the origins of the First World War will henceforth be able to bypass this magisterial work.”
“The most readable account of the origins of the First World War since Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. The difference is that The Sleepwalkers is a lovingly researched work of the highest scholarship.”
“This compelling examination of the causes of World War I deserves to become the new standard one-volume account of that contentious subject.”
“Clark is a masterly historian. . . . His account vividly reconstructs key decision points while deftly sketching the context driving them. . . . A magisterial work.”
“A monumental new volume. . . . Revelatory, even revolutionary. . . . Clark has done a masterful job explaining the inexplicable.”
“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.”
“A meticulously researched, superbly organized, and handsomely written account.”
“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.”
“A thoroughly comprehensive and highly readable account. . . . 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.”
“As spacious and convincing a treatment as has yet appeared. . . . Clark’s prose is clear and laced with color.”
“A great book. . . An amazing narrative history of the crisis and the larger context.”
“A superb account of the causes of the first world war. . . . Clark brilliantly puts this illogical conflict into context.”
“This book is as authoritative as it is gripping. . . . Clark provides a vivid panorama of the jostling among Europe’s policymakers. . . . The reader is rapt as ‘watchful but unseeing’ protagonists head for inconceivable horror.”
“Excellent. . . . Where Clark excels is in explaining how the pre-war diplomatic maneuvers resembled a giant exercise in game theory.”-
“Clark’s narrative sophistication, his philosophical awareness, and his almost preternatural command of his sources make The Sleepwalkers an exemplary instance of how to navigate this tricky terrain. The best book on the origins of the First World War that I know.”
“One of 2013’s finest nonfiction books. . . . Offers more up-to-date scholarship than you’ll find in a classic like Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August.”