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On History

Eric Hobsbawm

4 Reviews

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Prose: non-fiction, History, General & world history

*A great historian tells the inside story of how history is recorded.

In these essays, about a quarter of them previously unpublished, Eric Hobsbawm reflects upon the theory, practice and development of history and its relevance to the modern world. These wide-ranging papers reflect Professor Hobsbawm's lifelong concern with the relations between past, present and future. They deal, among many other subjects, with the problems of writing history, its abuses and the historian's responsibilities; with the history of society and 'history from below'; with Marx and current historical trends or fashions; with Europe, the Russian Revolution and the descent into a world-wide barbarism that, increasing for most of the twentieth century, threatens to destroy the civilisation we have inherited from the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth century.

These essays reveal a passionate belief in the importance of studying history, as well as displaying the incisive analysis, the breadth of allusion and the distinctive viewpoint for which this great historian is justly famous.

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Praise for On History

  • Engaging...always instructive. - THE OBSERVER

  • Full of the author's characteristic merits ...authoritative and highly relevant. - THE NEW STATESMAN

  • Brilliant - Sunday TIMES

  • For sheer intelligence, Hobsbawm has no superior in the historical profession... On History is of great interest for the light it throws on one of the most powerful minds of our time. It should be read by anyone who cares how history should be written and why it matters. - Guardian

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Eric Hobsbawm

Eric Hobsbawm was a Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Before retirement he taught at Birkbeck College, University of London, and after retirement at the New School for Social Research in New York. Previous books include AGE OF EXTREMES, THE AGE OF REVOLUTION and THE AGE OF EMPIRE. He died 1st October 2012