Sean McMeekin - Author

About the Author

Sean McMeekin's books include The Berlin-Baghdad Express, The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power (Penguin/Allen Lane) and The Russian Origins of the First World War (Harvard University Press). He lives in Istanbul with his wife, Nesrin, and their daughter, Ayla.

Featured books by Sean McMeekin

July 1914 Countdown to War

July 1914 Countdown to War

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2014

The outbreak of the First World War was 'a drama never surpassed'. One hundred years later, the characters still seem larger than life: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, brooding heir to the Habsburg throne; the fanatical Bosnian Serb assassins who plot to murder him; Conrad and Berchtold, the Austrians who exploit the outrage; Kaiser Wilhelm and Bethmann Hollweg, backing up the Austrians; Sazonov, Russian Foreign Minister, trying to live down a reputation for cowardice; Poincare and Paleologue, two French statesmen who urge on the Russians; and not least Winston Churchill, who, alone among Cabinet officials in London, perceives the seriousness of the situation in time to take action. July 1914 tells the story of Europe's countdown to war through the eyes of these men, between the bloody opening act on 28 June 1914 and Britain's final plunge on 4 August, which turned a European conflict into a world war. The outbreak of war was no accident of fate. Individual statesmen, pursuing real objectives, conjured up the conflict - in some cases by conscious intention. While some sought honourably to defuse tensions, others all but oozed with malice as they rigged the decks for war. Dramatic, inevitably tense and almost forensically observed, Sean McMeekin's unique book retells the story of that cataclysmic month, making clear as never before who was responsible for the catastrophe. You will never think the same way again about the origins of the First World War.

Other books by Sean McMeekin

The Russian Revolution A New History

The Russian Revolution A New History

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2018

At the turn of the century, the Russian economy was growing by about 10% annually and its population had reached 150 million. By 1920 the country was in desperate financial straits and more than 20 million Russians had died. And by 1950, a third of the globe had embraced communism. The triumph of Communism sets a profound puzzle. How did the Bolsheviks win power and then cling to it amid the chaos they had created? Traditional histories remain a captive to Marxist ideas about class struggle. Analysing never before used files from the Tsarist military archives, McMeekin argues that war is the answer. The revolutionaries were aided at nearly every step by Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland who sought to benefit - politically and economically - from the changes overtaking the country. To make sense of Russia's careening path the essential question is not Lenin's who, whom? , but who benefits?

The Russian Revolution A New History

The Russian Revolution A New History

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2017

At the turn of the century, the Russian economy was growing by about 10% annually and its population had reached 150 million. By 1920 the country was in desperate financial straits and more than 20 million Russians had died. And by 1950, a third of the globe had embraced communism. The triumph of Communism sets a profound puzzle. How did the Bolsheviks win power and then cling to it amid the chaos they had created? Traditional histories remain a captive to Marxist ideas about class struggle. Analysing never before used files from the Tsarist military archives, McMeekin argues that war is the answer. The revolutionaries were aided at nearly every step by Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland who sought to benefit - politically and economically - from the changes overtaking the country. To make sense of Russia's careening path the essential question is not Lenin's who, whom? , but who benefits?

Russian Revolution

Russian Revolution

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: eBook Release Date: 30/05/2017

In The Russian Revolution, acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin traces the events which ended Romanov rule, ushered the Bolsheviks into power, and introduced Communism to the world. Between 1917 and 1922, Russia underwent a complete and irreversible transformation. Taking advantage of the collapse of the Tsarist regime in the middle of World War I, the Bolsheviks staged a hostile takeover of the Russian Imperial Army, promoting mutinies and mass desertions of men in order to fulfill Lenin's program of turning the "e;imperialist war"e; into civil war. By the time the Bolsheviks had snuffed out the last resistance five years later, over 20 million people had died, and the Russian economy had collapsed so completely that Communism had to be temporarily abandoned. Still, Bolshevik rule was secure, owing to the new regime's monopoly on force, enabled by illicit arms deals signed with capitalist neighbors such as Germany and Sweden who sought to benefit-politically and economically-from the revolutionary chaos in Russia. Drawing on scores of previously untapped files from Russian archives and a range of other repositories in Europe, Turkey, and the United States, McMeekin delivers exciting, groundbreaking research about this turbulent era. The first comprehensive history of these momentous events in two decades, The Russian Revolution combines cutting-edge scholarship and a fast-paced narrative to shed new light on one of the most significant turning points of the twentieth century.

The Ottoman Endgame War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923

The Ottoman Endgame War, Revolution and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908-1923

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/2016

'An outstanding history ... one of the best writers on the First World War' Simon Sebag Montefiore Shortlisted for the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature The Ottoman Endgame is the first, and definitive, single-volume history of the Ottoman empire's agonising war for survival. Beginning with Italy's invasion of Ottoman Tripoli in September 1911, the Empire was in a permanent state of emergency, with hardly a frontier not under direct threat. Assailed by enemies on all sides, the Empire-which had for generations been assumed to be a rotten shell-proved to be strikingly resilient, beating off major attacks at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia before finally being brought down in the general ruin of the Central Powers in 1918. As the Europeans planned to partition all its lands between them and with even Istanbul seemingly helpless in the face of the triumphant Entente, an absolutely unexpected entity emerged: modern Turkey. Under the startling genius of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a powerful new state emerged from the Empire's fragments. This is the first time an author has woven the entire epic together from start to finish - and it will cause many readers to fundamentally re-evaluate their understanding of the conflict. The consequences, well into the 21st century, could not have been more momentous - with countries as various as Serbia, Greece, Libya, Armenia, Iraq and Syria still living with them.

July 1914

July 1914

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: eBook Release Date: 29/04/2014

When a Serbian-backed assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914, the world seemed unmoved. Even Ferdinands own uncle, Franz Josef I, was notably ambivalent about the death of the Hapsburg heir, saying simply, It is Gods will. Certainly, there was nothing to suggest that the episode would lead to conflictmuch less a world war of such massive and horrific proportions that it would fundamentally reshape the course of human events.As acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin reveals in July 1914, World War I might have been avoided entirely had it not been for a small group of statesmen who, in the month after the assassination, plotted to use Ferdinands murder as the trigger for a long-awaited showdown in Europe. The primary culprits, moreover, have long escaped blame. While most accounts of the wars outbreak place the bulk of responsibility on German and Austro-Hungarian militarism, McMeekin draws on surprising new evidence from archives across Europe to show that the worst offenders were actually to be found in Russia and France, whose belligerence and duplicity ensured that war was inevitable. Whether they plotted for war or rode the whirlwind nearly blind, each of the men involvedfrom Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold von Berchtold and German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov and French president Raymond Poincarsought to capitalize on the fallout from Ferdinands murder, unwittingly leading Europe toward the greatest cataclysm it had ever seen.A revolutionary account of the genesis of World War I, July 1914 tells the gripping story of Europes countdown to war from the bloody opening act on June 28th to Britains final plunge on August 4th, showing how a single monthand a handful of menchanged the course of the twentieth century.

July 1914 Countdown to War

July 1914 Countdown to War

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2014

The outbreak of the First World War was 'a drama never surpassed'. One hundred years later, the characters still seem larger than life: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, brooding heir to the Habsburg throne; the fanatical Bosnian Serb assassins who plot to murder him; Conrad and Berchtold, the Austrians who exploit the outrage; Kaiser Wilhelm and Bethmann Hollweg, backing up the Austrians; Sazonov, Russian Foreign Minister, trying to live down a reputation for cowardice; Poincare and Paleologue, two French statesmen who urge on the Russians; and not least Winston Churchill, who, alone among Cabinet officials in London, perceives the seriousness of the situation in time to take action. July 1914 tells the story of Europe's countdown to war through the eyes of these men, between the bloody opening act on 28 June 1914 and Britain's final plunge on 4 August, which turned a European conflict into a world war. The outbreak of war was no accident of fate. Individual statesmen, pursuing real objectives, conjured up the conflict - in some cases by conscious intention. While some sought honourably to defuse tensions, others all but oozed with malice as they rigged the decks for war. Dramatic, inevitably tense and almost forensically observed, Sean McMeekin's unique book retells the story of that cataclysmic month, making clear as never before who was responsible for the catastrophe. You will never think the same way again about the origins of the First World War.

July 1914 Countdown to War

July 1914 Countdown to War

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/07/2013

The outbreak of the First World War was `a drama never surpassed'. One hundred years later, the characters still seem larger than life: Archduke Franz Ferdinand, brooding heir to the Habsburg throne; the fanatical Bosnian Serb assassins who plot to murder him; Conrad and Berchtold, the Austrians who exploit the outrage; Kaiser Wilhelm and Bethmann Hollweg, backing up the Austrians; Sazonov, Russian Foreign Minister, trying to live down a reputation for cowardice; Poincare and Paleologue, two French statesmen who urge on the Russians; and not least Winston Churchill, who, alone among Cabinet officials in London, perceives the seriousness of the situation in time to take action. July 1914 tells the story of Europe's countdown to war through the eyes of these men, between the bloody opening act on 28 June 1914 and Britain's final plunge on 4 August, which turned a European conflict into a world war. The outbreak of war was no accident of fate. Individual statesmen, pursuing real objectives, conjured up the conflict - in some cases by conscious intention. While some sought honourably to defuse tensions, others all but oozed with malice as they rigged the decks for war. Dramatic, inevitably tense and almost forensically observed, Sean McMeekin's unique book retells the story of that cataclysmic month, making clear as never before who was responsible for the catastrophe. You will never think the same way again about the origins of the First World War.

The Russian Origins of the First World War

The Russian Origins of the First World War

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/05/2013

The catastrophe of the First World War, and the destruction, revolution, and enduring hostilities it wrought, make the issue of its origins a perennial puzzle. Since World War II, Germany has been viewed as the primary culprit. Now, in a major reinterpretation of the conflict, Sean McMeekin rejects the standard notions of the war's beginning as either a Germano-Austrian preemptive strike or a tragedy of miscalculation. Instead, he proposes that the key to the outbreak of violence lies in St. Petersburg. It was Russian statesmen who unleashed the war through conscious policy decisions based on imperial ambitions in the Near East. Unlike their civilian counterparts in Berlin, who would have preferred to localize the Austro-Serbian conflict, Russian leaders desired a more general war so long as British participation was assured. The war of 1914 was launched at a propitious moment for harnessing the might of Britain and France to neutralize the German threat to Russia's goal: partitioning the Ottoman Empire to ensure control of the Straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Nearly a century has passed since the guns fell silent on the western front. But in the lands of the former Ottoman Empire, World War I smolders still. Sunnis and Shiites, Arabs and Jews, and other regional antagonists continue fighting over the last scraps of the Ottoman inheritance. As we seek to make sense of these conflicts, McMeekin's powerful expose of Russia's aims in the First World War will illuminate our understanding of the twentieth century.

The Berlin-Baghdad Express The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1918

The Berlin-Baghdad Express The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, 1898-1918

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/04/2011

WINNER OF THE BARBARA JELAVICH BOOK PRIZE 'Sean McMeekin has written a classic of First World War history ... This superb and original book is the reality behind Greenmantle' Norman Stone The Berlin-Baghdad Express explores one of the big, previously unresearched subjects of the First World War: the German bid for world power - and the destruction of the British Empire - through the harnessing of the Ottoman Empire. McMeekin's book shows how incredibly high the stakes were in the Middle East - with the Germans in the tantalizing position of taking over the core of the British Empire via the extraordinary railway that would link Central Europe and the Persian Gulf. Germany sought the Ottoman Empire as an ally to create jihad against the British - whose Empire at the time was the largest Islamic power in the world. The Berlin-Baghdad Express is a fascinating account of western interference in the Middle East and its lamentable results. It explains and brings to life a massive area of fighting, which in most other accounts is restricted to the disaster at Gallipoli and the British invasions of Iraq and Palestine.

History's Greatest Heist

History's Greatest Heist

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: eBook Release Date: 17/12/2008

Historians have never resolved a central mystery of the Russian Revolution: How did the Bolsheviks, despite facing a world of enemies andleaving nothing but economic ruin in their path, manage to stay in power through five long years of civil war? In this penetrating book, Sean McMeekin draws on previously undiscovered materials from the Soviet Ministry of Finance and other European and American archives to expose some of the darkest secrets of Russias early days of communism. Building on one archival revelation after another, the author reveals how the Bolsheviks financed their aggression through astonishingly extensive thievery. Their looting included everything from the cash savings of private citizens to gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, icons, antiques, and artwork.By tracking illicit Soviet financial transactions across Europe, McMeekin shows how Lenins regime accomplished historys greatest heist between 1917 and 1922 and turned centuries of accumulated wealth into the sinews of class war. McMeekin also names names, introducing for the first time the compliant bankers, lawyers, and middlemen who, for a price, helped the Bolsheviks launder their loot, impoverish Russia, and impose their brutal will on millions.

History's Greatest Heist The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks

History's Greatest Heist The Looting of Russia by the Bolsheviks

Author: Sean McMeekin Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/12/2008

Historians have never resolved a central mystery of the Russian Revolution: How did the Bolsheviks, despite facing a world of enemies and leaving nothing but economic ruin in their path, manage to stay in power through five long years of civil war? In this penetrating book, Sean McMeekin draws on previously undiscovered materials from the Soviet Ministry of Finance and other European and American archives to expose some of the darkest secrets of Russia's early days of communism. Building on one archival revelation after another, the author reveals how the Bolsheviks financed their aggression through astonishingly extensive thievery. Their looting included everything from the cash savings of private citizens to gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, icons, antiques, and artwork. By tracking illicit Soviet financial transactions across Europe, McMeekin shows how Lenin's regime accomplished history's greatest heist between 1917 and 1922 and turned centuries of accumulated wealth into the sinews of class war. McMeekin also names names, introducing for the first time the compliant bankers, lawyers, and middlemen who, for a price, helped the Bolsheviks launder their loot, impoverish Russia, and impose their brutal will on millions.

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