Disputing Disaster:A Sextet on the Great War

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A group portrait of six of the finest historians of the First World War

In A Sextet on the Great War, Perry Anderson picks out from the highly charged historiography on the First World War one leading historian from each of the major powers that survived the conflagration: Fritz Fischer, famous historian of German war-guilt; Pierre Renouvin, a disabled serviceman and preeminent authority on the conflict in France; Luigi Albertini, the Italian newspaper tycoon who unlike any other scholar on the Grear War was himself a leading actor in pitching his country into it; Paul W. Schroeder, the American expert on the system of European interstate relations and its breakdown in 1914; Keith Wilson, the one radical deviant from a patriotic consensus in Britain about the country’s role in the outbreak of the fighting; and, from Australia (a dominion dragooned into the Great War by the British), Christopher Clark, acclaimed author of The Sleepwalkers and Revolutionary Spring.

A Sextet on the Great War is a compelling analytical guide to the finest competing accounts of the First World War’s origins.


  • One of the world’s great historians, unrivalled in his ability to master and synthesize vast historical literatures.

    Jeet HeerThe New Republic (for American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers)
  • Anderson is among the most insightful and policy-relevant analysts of modern Europe.

    Andrew MoravcsikForeign Affairs (for The New Old World)
  • One of the best political, historical and literary essayists of the age.

    Times Literary Supplement