Book Club: The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark

This months’ Book for #rememberww1 virtual book club is “Sleepwalkers” by Christopher Clark.

In October of 2014 Clark gave a presentation at the World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri on “How Europe Went to War in 1914.” Clark discusses how his book comes from the angle of not “why” Europe went to war, but “how”.   The question of why creates an illusion of inevitability whereas in reality, most historians agree that the region was further from war than it had been in years. He also says “When we ask ‘why’, what we often really mean is ‘who”   which creates a blame based approach.  Asking “how” traces multiple paths to events and decisions that brought war about.  Clark also tried to emphasize
features that in his opinion had, up to this point, been underexposed, such as the chaotic quality of decision making by administrations during that time.  Clark also stresses the relationships during that time period taking a much more globalized approach.  He doesn’t limit his analysis to just Russia, Germany, and the Balkan states, but also looks at China, Great Britain and others.  It’s an interesting talk and great introduction to “Sleepwalkers.”  After listening to the talk, I can’t wait to start the book.

Christopher Clark, “How Europe Went to War”

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