Interesting Times: A Twentieth-century Life
Eric Hobsbawm is considered by many to be our greatest living historian. Robert Heilbroner, writing about Hobsbawm’sThe Age of Extremes 1914-1991said, “I know of no other account that sheds as much light on what is now behind us, and thereby casts so much illumination on our possible futures.” Skeptical, endlessly curious, and almost contemporary with the terrible “short century” which is the subject ofAge of Extremes, his most widely read book, Hobsbawm has, for eighty-five years, been committed to understanding the “interesting times” through which he has lived.
Hitler came to power as Hobsbawm was on his way home from school in Berlin, and the Soviet Union fell while he was giving a seminar in New York. He was a member of the Apostles at King’s College, Cambridge, took E.M. Forster to hear Lenny Bruce, and demonstrated with Bertrand Russell against nuclear arms in Trafalgar Square. He translated for Che Guevara in Havana, had Christmas dinner with a Soviet master spy in Budapest and an evening at home with Mahalia Jackson in Chicago. He saw the body of Stalin, started the modern history of banditry and is probably the only Marxist asked to collaborate with the inventor of the Mars bar.
Hobsbawm takes us from Britain to the countries and cultures of Europe, to America (which he appreciated first through movies and jazz), to Latin America, Chile, India and the Far East. WithInteresting Times, we see the history of the twentieth century through the unforgiving eye of one of its most intensely engaged participants, the incisiveness of whose views we cannot afford to ignore in a world in which history has come to be increasingly forgotten.
What people are saying - Write a review
Interesting times: a twentieth-century lifeUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Any list of the half-dozen or so most respected 20th-century historians writing in English would surely include Hobsbawm's name. That for most of his life the octogenarian (b. 1917) belonged to a ... Read full review
Other editions - View all
academic admired American anti-communism Austrian became Berlin Britain British Cambridge career central certainly civil Cold Comintern communism Communist Party course crisis cultural democrats economic English Eric Hobsbawm Europe European fascism Fernand Braudel France French friends German global Gretl historian Hitler Hobsbawm intellectual Italian Italy James Klugmann jazz Jewish Jews John Cornford knew Labour Party later Latin America leader least left-wing liberation lived London looked Marlene Marxism Today Marxist memory middle-class Moscow movement Nazi never October Revolution organized Paris Party members passion past perhaps political Portmeirion postwar recall regime remained remember Republic revolution revolutionary Second World sense social socialist society Soviet Stalin street student took traditional twentieth century undergraduates Union unlike USSR Vienna Viennese wanted Weimar Weimar Republic workers writing wrote young