No one at the time imagined the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 was a world-changing event. Some sections of the international arena were not even paying any attention at all. The United States was tranquil in its seclusion and affluence. Paris was immersed in a murder and sex scandal. London was engrossed with the usual Irish Question. From the beginning there was a breakdown in understanding that the shooting of the successor to the crown of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by a Serbian revolutionary could be a trigger to a world war. In “The Sleepwalkers” by Christopher Clark, the Cambridge lecturer explains just how swiftly Russia’s administrators fashioned a narrative to rationalise Russia going to war and how France and England blindly supported it. Clark offers us a very clear and exceptionally understandable narrative of the swift polarization of the region with an account that is anything but boring. The cleverness of Clark’s far-ranging examination is the way it explains how the Great War was actually foreseeable, if anyone had actually been looking. The players just kept strolling along a sheer cliff, certain of their individual ethical superiority, yet unconsciously urged by an intricate interplay of ingrained cultures, nationalism and fear. An excellent take on the lead-up to the First World War.