The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
26 February 2017

by Christopher Clark

There is a certain aesthetic of thought happening right now that Anna Tsing described “assemblages” in her The Mushroom at the End of the World. A sort of all over Jackson Pollock painting of thought– feedback loops and events, outputs that don’t really go anywhere, and that most unpredictable of variable, humanity, dancing on top of it.

This book catalogs many of the tendrils, contradictions and blundering that led the world into World War I. Each chapter takes on a different country’s viewpoint and internal decision making. It manages to provide a lot of clarity to its complexity, but I still got lost a lot. For what it’s worth: I have the memory of a goldfish.

What is even more maddening about this book– as exact and complex as it is, it probably doesn’t even begin to untangle the threads.