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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2013
So much of written and spoken opinion is an "off the peg" product of the supeficial journalism of the day. How much more impressive and interesting to read the works of an original mind and a perceptive eye. This is the best read I have had in a long time. I found it intensely interesing , enjoyable and unputdownable. If you wish to get away from the hackneyed cliche then buy it. You will not be disappointed
We lost a great deal when the Grim Reaper collected the author as he sadly did so very recently
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Each year-end, The Economist runs a special double edition to tide us over the festive season. It features, in amongst the usual news coverage, numerous learned and erudite articles covering a plethora of subjects, covering arcane zones of history, food, culture, politics, the human condition and more. This publication is my benchmark for general interest magazines. It was also my benchmark for judging this collection of essays by the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm who, despite his Marxist views, received a laudatory obituary from The Economist itself, the house magazine of liberal capitalism.

Unfortunately, my expectations, based upon his history books, were not fulfilled.

It's quite difficult to specify why. The fact that I hadn't heard of some of the people who are his subjects almost certainly had no bearing, nor that some of his subject matter, particularly opera, exists in an area I normally label "not interested". There are ways these things can be interesting. Here it's hard work.

Sometimes, certainly, Hobsbawm seems to have been showing off a little, scattering obscure quotations in amongst his text, but it's not their obscurity but their failure to add much that stands out. He makes a good point about our ability still to be able to read a printed text published in the 17th century and our inability to read an electronic one produced less than twenty years ago due to our loss of the appropriate software (I'm personally struggling to retrieve files from the mid-nineties in Word!), but it only needed saying once. This and other repetitions are due, of course, to the nature of many of the essays as originally talks given at the Salzburg festival, where his audience from year to year may not notice. His reading audience will be more aware.

The book does, fortunately, have its moments: two consecutive essays, on Public Religion, discussing inter alia issues around the rise of fundamentalism, and Art and Revolution, addressing the reactionary attitude of the Bolsheviks towards art, count as Economist-worthy material, as does his take on The American Cowboy.

Overall, however, somewhat disappointing.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
I must object about the previous review - the clue is in the title - "Society in the Twentieth Century" so pre bank crisis. A good collection, wise words.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I find his thinking original and, based on this volume I plan on reading more of his work. Not well head of by general American public.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2013
It puts a lot of trends and developments together insuch a way to explain the ideas and influences of an era.
New book condition, carefully packed/delivered ina timely manner.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2013
Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century by E Hobsbawm

The kindle price for this book is outrageous, albeit that it's said to be set by the publisher. It exceeds your price for the hardback edition. Why do you allow the publisher to dictate your e-book retail price? With your market power you should refuse to publish such a rip off. You wouldn't even lose a sale because if a reader wants it badly enough, he'll buy the printed version. Kindle books should always be much cheaper than printed books. Not only are the production costs less, but the price doesn't even buy ownership of the book. Amazon can simply disconnect or erase it and, of course, you can't lend it a friend.

I also agree that it's not even an original work, but a re-hash of old essays. It's not worth a penny more than $9.99.

Michal Lewi
Perth, Western Australia
Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century
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8 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2013
This is a cynical attempt by the publisher to make money from some disparate essays by Hobswam, all of which are at least 20 years old. Out of date, pre financial crash and not worth the money.
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