An insightful and enlightening collection of Eric Hobsbawm's writing on the subject of nationalism.
I remain in the curious position of disliking, distrusting, disapproving and fearing nationalism wherever it exists . . . but recognising its enormous force, which must be harnessed for progress if possible.
In the last two decades the uses of the term 'nationalism' has increased steeply with the rising tide of nationalist parties. In this collection of historian Eric Hobsbawm's writing on nationalism, we see some of the critical historical insights he brings to bear on this contentious subject, which is more than ever relevant as we stand on the doorstep of an age when the internet and the globalisation of capital threaten to blow away many national boundaries while, as a reaction, nationalism seems to re-emerge with renewed strength.
More than any other historian of our time, Hobsbawm took great care to seriously consider these movements, and never to decry nationalism and patriotism as simply absurd. The clarity of his insight is as vital today as it was in his lifetime: On Nationalism is an essential work for anyone who wants to understand the phenomenon.
Eric Hobsbawm was born in Alexandria in 1917 and was educated in Vienna, Berlin, London and Cambridge. A Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, with honorary degrees from universities in several countries, he taught until retirement at Birkbeck College, University of London, and since then at the New School for Social Research in New York. All his books have been translated into several languages.