On the morning of June 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand
and his wife, Sophie Chotek, arrived at Sarajevo railway station,
Europe was at peace. Thirty-seven days later, it was at war. The
conflict that resulted would kill more than fifteen million people,
destroy three empires, and permanently alter world history.
The Sleepwalkers reveals in gripping detail how the
crisis leading to World War I unfolded. Drawing on fresh sources,
it traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed
narrative that cuts among the key decision centers in Vienna,
Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade. Distinguished
historian Christopher Clark 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.
How did the Balkans-a peripheral region far from Europe's
centers of power and wealth-come to be the center of a drama of
such magnitude? How had European nations organized themselves into
opposing alliances, and how did these nations manage to carry out
foreign policy as a result? Clark reveals a Europe racked by
chronic problems-a fractured world of instability and militancy
that was, fatefully, saddled with a conspicuously ineffectual set
of political leaders. These rulers, who prided themselves on their
modernity and rationalism, stumbled through crisis after crisis and
finally convinced themselves that war was the only answer.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, The
Sleepwalkers is a magisterial account of one of the most
compelling dramas of modern times.