Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the best-selling A Peace to End All Peace
(“extraordinarily ambitious, provocative, and vividly written”–Washington Post Book World
), a dramatic reassessment of the causes of the Great War.
The early summer of 1914 was the most glorious Europeans could remember. But, behind the scenes, the most destructive war the world had yet known was moving inexorably into being, a war that would continue to resonate into the twenty-first century. The question of how it began has long vexed historians. Many have cited the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand; others have concluded that it was nobody’s fault. But David Fromkin–whose account is based on the latest scholarship–provides a different answer. He makes plain that hostilities were commenced deliberately.
In a gripping narrative that has eerie parallels to events in our own time, Fromkin shows that not one but two wars were waged, and that the first served as pretext for the second. Shedding light on such current issues as preemptive war and terrorism, he provides detailed descriptions of the negotiations and incisive portraits of the diplomats, generals, and rulers–the Kaiser of Germany, the Czar of Russia, the Prime Minister of England, among other key players. And he reveals how and why diplomacy was doomed to fail.
"[A] terrific account....Fromkin allies a direct, compulsively readable style with a daunting command of sources old and new, unrolling a complex skein of events with assurance and wit and dispatching numerous conventional wisdoms." Publishers Weekly
"The boldness of Fromkin's argument is enough to warrant attention, but his fluidity of expression guarantees a large audience for this book." Booklist (Starred Review)
"[Fromkin's] account of the war's origins, though surely arguable at many points, fills in many gaps." Kirkus Reviews
In a gripping narrative that has eerie parallels to current events, Europe's Last Summer is a striking re-creation of the start of World War I a crucial moment in 20th-century history.
About the Author
David Fromkin is University Professor and Professor of History at Boston University. He is the author of In the Time of the Americans, a History Book Club selection, and the national best-seller A Peace to End All Peace, which was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize and was singled out by the New York Times Book Review as one of the thirteen "Best Books of the Year" in 1989. He lives in New York City.