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Sarajevo, 28 June 1914: The story of the assassination that changed the world.

A historical account of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Using newly available sources and older material, David James Smith brilliantly reinvestigates and reconstructs the events which subsequently determined the shape of the twentieth century.

Young Gavrilo Princip arrived at the Vlajnic pastry shop in Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina on the morning of 28 June 1914. He was greeted by his fellow conspirators in the plot to kill Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The Archduke, next in line to succeed as Emperor of Austria, was beginning a state visit to Sarajevo later that morning. Ferdinand was not a very popular character – widely thought of as bad-tempered and arrogant and perhaps even deranged. To the young students he embodied everything they loathed about imperial oppression. They planned to kill him at about 11 o’clock as he paraded down Appel Quay to the town hall in his open top car.

What happened in those few hours – leading as it did to the First and Second World Wars – is as compelling as any thriller.

Reviews

David James Smith's achievement is to contextualise the conspiracy ... an informed and nuanced account
SUNDAY TIMES
This outstanding new account of events and characters ... is the most comprehensive study of the assassination yet published in English
SPECTATOR
He is to be congratulated on a fine piece of political and literary detective work, which held this reader enthralled
TRIBUNE