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The Age of Capital 1848-1875 [Hardcover]

4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble Books (1 Jan 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760701342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760701348
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,909,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric Hobsbawm was born in Alexandria in 1917 and 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 is the author of many important works of history.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our own Timelord 14 Sep 2010
By Diziet TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Age of Capital was originally the second part of a trilogy, flanked by The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848 and The Age of Empire, 1875-1914. Later the series became a tetralogy with the publication of Age of Extremes : The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991.

Although each book stands up as a volume in it's own right it is very difficult, when finishing one, to not want to continue to find out 'what happens next' even if you know perfectly well what happens. And this is because, even though the books are not narratives in the normal sense of the term, the way Hobsbawm draws out the themes and events of each period really makes you want to find out how he is going to explain subsequent developments.

This volume, like the others in the series, is made up of more-or-less discreet essays on individual aspects of the period under consideration. Each subject is a chapter and the chapters are gathered together into three sections - Part 1: Revolutionary Prelude, Part 2: Developments and Part 3: Results. The chapters in Part 2 include The Great Boom, The World Unified, Conflicts and War, Building Nations, The Forces of Democracy, Losers, Winners and Changing Society. And then in Part 3, he looks at the effects of these developments.

Partly because of this structure but also partly because of the quality of the writing, it is a really interesting and illuminating read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at its most exciting! 8 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am an engineer by training. I have also been trained as a mathematician.
I never thought a book in history could be written with such precision and
analytical depth. It is irrelevant whether you agree with Eric Hobsbawm's
political sympathies or not, his logical reasoning and the evidence produced
in this book are absolutely compelling. I wish I was taught history in this way
when I was a schoolboy.

I read this book after reading the equally impressive "The age of revolutions".
I was so impressed that I ordered the next three volumes immediately. I was not

A word of warning: These books mostly concentrate on the dynamics of historical
development. They are not narratives of historical events as such. To make best use of
these books the reader must have a rudimentary knowledge of European (and the world)
history. I found the best approach (for me) is to read Hobsbawm's books but refer to
other (perhaps more mundane) sources for the details.

If you want to know why things happened the way they did rather than wanting to know
what happened in history, these books are an excellent starting point.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an Easy Read and Dated 12 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the second of four books on global history from 1789 to 1991, dealing with the period 1848 to 1875. It was first published in 1974.
Everything is discussed - politics, economics, culture, science, art. The work is arranged thematically. It is a work of some erudition by a renowned historian. Statements are made confidently, conclusions drawn with authority, but evidence is presented selectively to illustrate rather than argue. There is an appendix with suggestions for further reading - but these are all somewhat dated and some are unobtainable. Parts I found heavy going - especially the later chapters on science and developments in the arts and philosophy. I think prior familiarity with this period would be essential to get much out of The Age of Capital.
The author was a Marxist historian and "class" underpins his analysis. Classes are real historical players with definite roles to play - if they did not always remember their lines. Thus the revolutions of 1848 "ought to have been bourgeois", while later the Russian bourgeoisie was "too weak to play its historic role". The writings of Lenin on agriculture receive as many pages as the American Civil War. Marx, more understandably, is referred to throughout, but mainly because his "views carry the weight of his posthumous triumphs" - could anyone write that today? Capitalism is portrayed as an exploitative system, its global spread effecting the capture of more victims. This stand would not find universal agreement.
Despite an enormous career output Hobsbawm does not write stylishly. A typical turn of phrase - "why was an not in itself plausible view not held" [p235]. This made difficult subjects even more obscure.
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My judgment on the merit of the book and author is presented with clarity in the subject heading.

The book is the second in a tetralogy covering the period 1789-1991. It follows the Age of Revolution (1789-1848) and precedes the Age of Empire (1875-1914).

I find it appropriate to say a few words on the periods which preceded and followed the period covered in the book in order to place the book in a better context.

The Age of Revolution (1789-1848) deals with the twin revolutions, the French of 1789 which was essentially political and the British industrial revolution which slightly preceded it. The focus of the book is on those two countries and to a certain extent on Europe but not in the remaining world for it had no relevance on it.

The Age of Empire (1875-1914) is an era of new sources of power (electricity and oil, turbines and the internal combustion engine) of new science-based industries, such as the expanding chemical industry.

The era of liberal triumph had been that of a de facto British industrial monopoly internationally.

The post-liberal era was one of international competition between rival national industrial economies - the British, the German, the North American. The world entered the period of Imperialism. An era which marked a new integration of the 'underdeveloped' countries as dependencies, into a world economy dominated by the 'developed' countries.

The Age of Capital (1848-1875) is the era of liberal triumph. Following the defeat of the pan-European revolution of 1848 there ensued an extraordinary and unprecedented economic transformation and expansion in the years between 1848 and the early 1870s with key elements industrialization, capitalism, and international trade and investment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
A classic for whoever wants to understand where our current history-economy-politics come from and where it's heading towards. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Claudio Solano
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Bought this as am not that happy with the universities course. Okay, he is a Marxist and this comes through in his writings but what he does analytically is amazing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by G to Gent
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Good. No problems in placing the order or receiving the product at home. Good product as well. I recommend it.
Published 18 months ago by Gilberto Gouvêa Júnior
5.0 out of 5 stars Hobsbawm
I enjoy Hobsbawm. Bought 3 more books, so haven't read all yet. Frightening to see some roots of the present crisis, foretold well before it happened.
Published 22 months ago by dianeg
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview
I used this alongside the age of empire in my first year of University. It has acted as an excellent and thorough start point for research in the mid nineteenth century being both... Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2012 by The disgruntled student
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
a really fabulous book explaining the 'golden age' of Britain on the world stage, or as Hobsbawm calls it, the "age of capital". Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2011 by dwiendle
5.0 out of 5 stars Review
Good product, good service. Good narative of this period in history. Would recommend the book and the seller.
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by RB
4.0 out of 5 stars Great History Book
Although I'm not a leftist, I read many of his books, especially the four ones about the past Centuries. Read more
Published on 28 Jun 2009 by Fulvio Arman
2.0 out of 5 stars Erudite but boring
I read this book during a week in Romania. Around me I saw what an age of communism does. Why I wonder should an intelligent author be so critical of capitalism? Read more
Published on 9 Mar 2006 by G. J. Weeks
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