Kalamazoo College’s 2014 Edward Moritz Lecture in in History features one of the world’s most distinguished historians, Professor Christopher Clark, Cambridge University, United Kingdom. The title of his talk, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” is the same as his recent book, an authoritative chronicle that draws on new research and traces the paths to World War I in a minute-by-minute narrative of events. 2014 is the centenary of what David Barclay describes as “the primal catastrophe of modern history from which subsequent, even greater catastrophes emerged.” He also notes that Clark’s book has been widely hailed as the most important publication on World War I in many years. “The German edition has been on the top of that country’s non-fiction bestseller list for many weeks,” says Barclay,the Margaret and Roger Scholten Professor of International Studies at Kalamazoo College as well as the executive director of the German Studies Association.
New York Times book reviewer Harold Evans called Clark’s book a masterpiece. In his review (“On the Brink,” May 5, 2013) Evans wrote: “The brilliance of Clark’s far-reaching history is that we are able to discern how the past was genuinely prologue. The participants were conditioned to keep walking along a precipitous escarpment, sure of their own moral compass, but unknowingly impelled by a complex interaction of deep-rooted cultures, patriotism and paranoia, sediments of history and folk memory, ambition and intrigue. They were, in Clark’s term, ’sleepwalkers, watchful but unseeing, haunted by dreams, yet blind to the reality of the horror they were about to bring into the world.’ In conception, steely scholarship and piercing insights, his book is a masterpiece.”
Clark’s lecture occurs Wednesday, April 9, at 7 PM in the Mandelle Hall Olmsted Room. It is free and open to the public. The Moritz Lecture is made possible by a generous donation from a local family. It honors the legacy of the late Professor Edward Moritz, who taught history at Kalamazoo College from 1955 to 1988 and served as department chair for many years.