Eric Hobsbawm 1917-2012: not the end of history

Historians in the News

When future generations come upon the webpages and news bulletins of the last 24 hours, something may puzzle them about their contents. How was it, they may ask themselves, that the death of a venerable Marxist historian could be seen as such a large shared national loss by so many people whose assumptions and worldviews often had so little in common with his? Worthy of an obituary, of course. But a front-page news story?

It is not an unreasonable question. Part of the answer lies in the late Eric Hobsbawm's sheer academic productivity and prowess. He cast the net of his curiosity far wider than most historians. He knew so much about so many things in the history of so many countries. And he had an unrivalled ability to marshal them in clear prose. No wonder he was such a sage to so many....

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