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Recommended Reading - The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark

Updated: Mar 13


Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence In his classic book, T.E. Lawrence— forever known as Lawrence of Arabia— recounts his role in the origin of the modern Arab world. At first a shy Oxford scholar and archaeologist with a facility for languages, he joined and went on to lead the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Turks while the rest of the world was enmeshed in World War I. This is an indispensable primary historical source. It helps us to understand today’s Middle East, while giving us thrilling accounts of military exploits, clandestine activities, and human foibles.


About the Author

T.E. Lawrence was born on 16th August 1888 in Tremadog in Wales. He was one of five illegitimate children born to the Seventh Baron of Westmeath. He studied at Jesus College, Oxford where he became interested in the Middle East. He worked for British Intelligence during the First World War and fought with the Arab forces to defeat the Turks. His exploits earned him the title of "Lawrence of Arabia" back in Britain. He resigned in 1922 and sought anonymity in the RAF where he enlisted as John Hume Ross. He later changed his name by deed poll to T.E. Shaw. Shortly after retiring from the RAF, T.E. Lawrence died in a motorcycle accident on 19th May 1935.

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War In 1914 by Christopher Clark

The Sleepwalkers is one of the most important books of the early 21st century, providing deep insight into the political and historical background of the beginning of the 1st World War, and aiding the understanding of the entire 20th century political scene.


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.


About the Author Christopher Clark is a professor of modern European history and a fellow of St. Catharine's College at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the author of Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947, among other books.


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