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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prelude to Today
This is the third in a series of four. The series consists of 'The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848', 'The Age of Capital, 1848-75', 'The Age of Empire, 1875-1914' (this volume) and finally, 'Age of Extremes : The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991', the latter being added to the series after a considerable gap.

They all follow basically the same format but,...
Published on 28 Feb 2011 by Diziet

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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars unintelligible
My problem with Hobsbawm is not his left-wing perspective, with which I sympathise, nor with his attempt to write a grand, sweeping history of the period - an inane tendency to ever greater specialisation is apparent in the works of too many historians, eager to be considered experts in their own minute field and fearful of addressing the big picture... What irritates me...
Published 16 months ago by joe


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prelude to Today, 28 Feb 2011
By 
Diziet "I Like Toast" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
This is the third in a series of four. The series consists of 'The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789-1848', 'The Age of Capital, 1848-75', 'The Age of Empire, 1875-1914' (this volume) and finally, 'Age of Extremes : The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991', the latter being added to the series after a considerable gap.

They all follow basically the same format but, unlike the other three volumes, this one is not divided up into three sections. Instead, we have a short 'Overture', then the main body of the volume and finally an 'Epilogue'. The main body is divided up into discreet essays, each exploring a specific theme of the era. So, for example, there is a chapter on 'The Politics of Democracy' looking at the fall-out from the Paris Commune of 1871 in which Hobsbawm suggests that 'it became increasingly clear that the democratization of the politics of the state was quite inevitable. The masses would march on to the stage of politics, whether rulers liked it or not'. (P85)

The following section, 'Workers of the World', charts the growth, not only of the proletariat and organised labour and the accelerating move away from an agrarian economy, but also the development of 'tertiary workers' - those in offices, shops and new services.

'Waving Flags: Nations and Nationalism' considers the rise of nationalism in politics. Although nationalism as an idea had been around for a while, '...the word 'nationalism' itself first appeared at the end of the nineteenth century to describe groups of right-wing ideologists in France and Italy, keen to brandish the national flag against foreigners, liberals and socialists in favour of that aggressive expansion of their own state which was to become so characteristic of such movements.' (P142)

The great thing about Hobsbawm's histories is that he never stops there, never just looks at political movements, marching armies and the like, but delves deeper to give you a real feel of the era under examination. So the following sections include 'Who's Who or the Uncertainties of the Bourgeoisie', 'The New Woman', 'The Arts Transformed', 'Certainties Undermined: The Sciences', 'Reason and Society', 'Towards Revolution,' and 'From Peace to War'.

Of course, this is the period leading up to the First World War and so I suppose that there is inevitably a feeling of foreboding and gloomy expectation, but Hobsbawm points out that this was also for many people the 'Belle Epoque', a golden age for arts, literature and science - Proust, Henry James, the young J M Keynes, Picasso. It was, though, also the age of Freud, Nietzsche and Lenin and the times also felt the growing influence of Darwin, Marx, Wagner et al. It was, underneath, a time of experimentation and questioning of received values in all fields. As Hobsbawm summarises:

'Since August 1914 we have lived in the world of monstrous wars, upheavals and explosions which Nietzsche prophetically announced. That is what has surrounded the era before 1914 with the retrospective haze of nostalgia, a faintly golden age of order and peace, of unproblematic prospects. Such back projections of imaginary good old days belong to the history of the last decades of the twentieth century, not the first. Historians of the days before the lights went out are not concerned with them. Their central preoccupation, and the one which runs through the present book, must be to understand and to show how the era of peace, of confident bourgeois civilisation, growing wealth and western empires inevitably carried within itself the embryo of the era of war, revolution and crisis which put an end to it.' (P327)
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55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent picture of World history during 1875-1914, 22 Aug 2000
By 
EMMA (Colchester, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
Eric Hobsbawm's The Age of Empire is one of the books which forms a four volume history of the world over the two centuries since the French Revolution: The Age of Revolution (1789-1848), The Age of Capital (1848-75), The Age of Empire (1875-1914), and The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century (1914-91). The Age of Empire (1875-1914) is exactly what the title suggests: a factual and real representation of the dynamics of the construction of empire. He concentrates primarily on technology, nationalism, imperialism, and revolution covering the era of Western imperialism in a remarkable and outstanding fashion, examining the forces that ultimately led to the outbreak of the First World War, and shaped the world we live in today. He provides the reader with a greater understanding of the political, social, and economic issues during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, highlighting how the era was just as much an era of opportunity as it was an era of hardship. In doing so, he looks at the transformation brought about by capitalism and how it affected various areas of life in an age dominated by the construction of empire. The Age of Empire has a clear and precise form of structural demarcation; each chapter follows on from the previous chapter, enhancing the overall argument. In some ways Hobsbawm's preference for phrase-making clouds our judgement of what people felt at the time. But, nevertheless, his dramatic sense of sweep and structure is quite unmatched. Hobsbawm himself delineates in the preface that The Age of Empire is a "history of different states, of politics, of the economy, of culture or whatever" (Preface: xi). These previously differentiated aspects are clearly portrayed in the book in such a way the reader gains an insight into the remarkable sense of vigour and enthusiasm with which Hobsbawm wrote The Age of Empire. Not only does he concentrate on each aspect individually, dividing the book into specific chapters, he clearly depicts how culture, politics, society, and economics are intrinsically linked. In one case he stresses that as an explanation for the growth of the colonial empire "political and economic elements were no longer clearly separable" (p.59). Clearly, then, Hobsbawm's Age of Empire is a general historical account of the years 1875-1914. Hobsbawm has endeavoured to amalgamate a variety of different aspects such as political, economic, and social history into one volume providing the reader with an all-embracing view. However, one cannot help but notice the clear Marxist undertone prevalent throughout, as shown by the fact that class and class consciousness (and conflict) are a powerful and recurrent theme. Not only this, but capitalism appears to be heavily criticised, as Hobsbawm makes reference to how it is not only schizophrenic in nature, rendering it inadequate, it has also led to the exploitation backward regions of the world. Also, Hobsbawm views the origins of the new imperialism from a Leninist angle arguing that imperialism during The Age of Empire had economic roots in a specific new phase of capitalism, which led to the division of the world and ultimately to the First World War. He claims that colonialism is "a by-product of political-economic rivalry between competing national economies" (Find reference). In doing so, he dismisses any other explanation in a sweeping statement claiming that no further discussion on the anti-Leninist approach is needed because they have "obscured the subject" (p.61). Similarly, his strong criticisms concerning the politics of democracy highlights his political persuasion. He claims that it was not a democratic world because the elites always exploited the working class. Not only this, he views democracy as a failure as shown by the concurrent exclusion and riots, brought about by its inefficiency, fragile, and non-permanent nature. Putting Hobsbawm's political persuasion aside, The Age of Empire, despite being Marxist in character, provides both the Marxist and non-Marxist reader with a detailed and somewhat accurate description of the transformations that occurred, even if the origins and reasons for them are riddled with ambiguities and open to debate. However, one must take into account the extent to which Hobsbawm's Age of Empire is in fact a world history. One of the most obvious criticisms, which have been made of Hobsbawm's writing, is that he is biased towards European history. However, this is hardly surprising considering the European precedence throughout the world during the period 1875-1914, as Hobsbawm points out in an interview with Daniel Snowman: "Because of the nature of the questions I address. If you're dealing with the history of modern capitalism and the world economy, your analysis has got to be Eurocentric right up until the late nineteenth century and the appearance of the USA as a world player" One particular area of transformation that Hobsbawm looks at is that of the sudden increase in the emergence of nation-states and the phenomenon of nationalism. Even though he provides us with an incisive and intellectual account of nationalism and its implications, he fails to recognise the importance of cultural nationalism and primordialism, overemphasising the role of the state and politicians in the construction of nations. Perhaps this is a reminder that in order to fully understand and appreciate the dynamics of Hobsbawm's works, one would need to research more on each of the transformations that Hobsbawm mentions, after-all, The Age of Empire is only a general history. Its purpose is to delineate that through understanding the past we can work to understand the present and possibly the future. The Age of Empire, as Hobsbawm explains in his epilogue, has shown that it was an age "...of growing uneasiness and fear. For most men and women in the world transformed by the bourgeoisie it was almost certainly and age of hope."(p.339). He claims that it is possible to find the perfect society by looking into the past and learning by our mistakes, but the inevitable surprises and changes in life cannot be predicted simply by looking at how things occurred in the past.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of world history, 8 Dec 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
The Age Of Empire is an interesting account of recent world history. Hobsbawm has attempted to combine a variety of previously differentiated aspects such as economic, military and political history into a single volume to give an overall view. The book is not predominantly a factual account of the period covered but rather an explanation / observation of world events. The book is biased towards European history which is perhaps justified due to European precedence in the world at this period in time. I would recommend this book as an interesting and informative read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 12 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
This is a brilliant history book covering a very interesting period up till 1914. This was one of two recommended course books for my humanity course in European History. (The second recommended course book was in fact Age of Extremes, also by the same author.) This book is very thick and I was initially put off, but was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the prose flowed and how articulate the author is. He writes in a very nice style, explaining all the key concepts throughout the book with unobtrusive sprinklings of his owns thoughts. Events that he mentioned were explored with many interesting facts given - you get an insight of the Europe in terms of politics, economics - It is not just an understanding of history events as they unfolded. The book is predominantly about European history with other countries touched upon, as it is about Empire. It might be a bit heavy to get into, but it is a great history book that I'd recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hobsbawm as ever on target, 19 July 2013
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This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
I had read the Age of Extremes before this, if you have the opportunity read Eric Hobsbawm's books in chronological order. It is not a critism of Hobsbwam it's a must to appreciate his work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie but goldie, 15 Aug 2010
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Lotta Continua (Doncaster, South Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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Eric Hobsbawn classical work on the history of capitalism from 1789 to 1999 is a fantastic example of the best sort of history: detailed and precie but also well-written and structured in a way that allows you to rember the key elements of the social, economic and political developments of the past that formed our modern world.

Exploring the key themes of the golden age before the first world war that saw the evolution of some very modern instituions, Hobsbawn gives an entertaining and masterful explanation of how the modern world evolved. Though this is not the most modern work, it still is one of the best introductions to this crucial period of history.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review, 6 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
Good product, good service. Good narative of this period in history. Would recommend the book and the seller.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very interesting, 23 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
A very interesting book which tied in closely with my A2 level history course. For this reason I found it immensely useful. It presents a very good thesis of Europe up to the First World War explaining the events leading up to it in the preceding 40 years. Overall a brilliant read.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 21 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
Good. No problems in placing the order or receiving the product at home. Good product as well. I recommend it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) (Paperback)
Good quality second hand book that is need for uni history, Was sent quickly and with minimal fuss. Very pleased
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The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats)
The Age Of Empire: 1875-1914 (History Greats) by Eric Hobsbawm (Paperback - 1 Feb 1989)
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