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  • Published: 21 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780718192952
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 736
Categories:

The Sleepwalkers

How Europe Went to War in 1914




A provocative new account of how Europe destroyed itself

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. Drawing on many new sources, this account puts Serbia and the Balkans at the centre of the story. Starting with the assassination of Alexander I of Serbia in 1903, Clark shows how, far from being the place of stability it appears to us, Europe was a multipolar and fractured world of clashing ideals, terrorism, militancy and instability, saddled with a conspicuously ineffectual set of political leaders. He shows how the rulers of Europe, who prided themselves on their modernity and rationalism, behaved like sleepwalkers, stumbling through crisis after crisis and finally convincing themselves that war was the only answer. The Sleepwalkers re-imagines the First World War to make it feel raw and modern. 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.

  • Published: 21 November 2012
  • ISBN: 9780718192952
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 736
Categories:

About the author

Christopher Clark

Christopher Clark is a lecturer in Modern European History at St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. His previous book was a biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II. His latest book is Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Penguin, 2007).

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