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Monday, October 1, 2012

The Death of a Great Marxist Historian

Posted by on Mon, Oct 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM

They don't make them like Hobsbawm anymore:

Eric Hobsbawm, one of the leading historians of the 20th century, has died, his family said on Monday. Hobsbawm, a lifelong Marxist whose work influenced generations of historians and politicians, died in the early hours of Monday morning at the Royal Free Hospital in London after a long illness, his daughter Julia said. He was 95.
Apparently the rightwing nut Niall Ferguson's maintained a favorable opinion of Hobsbawm's work. Maybe it was impossible for him to get around the fact that only Marxists can properly explain, understand, read the history that made the world we find ourselves in, which is, in essence, the history of capitalism, the history of associated labor, the history of the credit system. The 19th century is indeed the long century of this history. I cannot end this post without a quote from Hobsbawm:
As the global expansion of Indian and Chinese restaurants suggests, xenophobia is directed against foreign people, not foreign cultural imports.


Comments (5) RSS

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Sad to think his passing may mark the last time any of us will see such a headline.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 1, 2012 at 8:43 AM · Report this
The Accidental Theologist 2
Happy to know that his work lives on.
Posted by The Accidental Theologist on October 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Could be that Ferguson recognizes that which many of us do--that HobsbawM, regardless of his political leanings (leanings to which I am certainly more sympathetic than Ferguson), was simply a brilliant and engaging scholar. Between his passing and Judt's untimely death a few years back, the field has certainly lost some of its giants in recent times.
Posted by aseth on October 1, 2012 at 9:14 AM · Report this
Can anyone recommend a book?
Posted by fahima on October 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM · Report this
@4 The Age of Revolution is one of his big ones, covering the French and Industrial Revolutions (what he called the 'dual revolution' responsible for the modern world) and more fun than that might suggest. On History is a collection of essays that almost made me become a historian, and Uncommon People looks at the radical political history of (among other things) shoemakers, the Luddites, bandits, guerrillas, and jazz.
Posted by csw on October 1, 2012 at 1:29 PM · Report this

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