Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers has become one of the most influential history books of our century: a remarkable rethinking of the origins of the First World War, which has had a huge impact on how we see both the past and the present.
For the many readers who found the narrative voice, craftsmanship and originality of Clark’s writing so compelling, Prisoners of Time will be a book filled with surprises and enjoyment. Bringing together many of Clark’s major essays, Prisoners of Time raises a host of questions about how we think about the past, and both the value and pitfalls of history as a discipline.
The book includes brilliant writing on German subjects: from assessments of Kaiser Wilhelm and Bismarck to the painful story of General von Blaskowitz, a traditional Prussian military man who accommodated himself to the horrors of the Third Reich. There is a fascinating essay on attempts to convert Prussian Jews to Christianity, and insights into everything from Brexit to the significance of battles. Perhaps the most important piece in the book is ‘The Dream of Nebuchadnezzar’, a virtuoso meditation on the nature of political power down the ages, which will become essential reading for anyone drawn to the meaning of history.