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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intense thought provoking work.
It is clear from the outset that this book is aimed at those who already have a wider understanding of some of the broad debates within the historical community, though at the same time that is not to say it is written with an air of exclusivity. I say understanding for if you already have opinions on how and why history should be conducted, particularly as a subject for...
Published on 19 Nov 2000

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11 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, and only for the converted
I read this looking for intelligent historiographical reflection on the problem of reconciling a Marxist perspective with (a specifically economic) historical analysis. I usually enjoy reading historians and economists beating each other up, and learn a lot from the results, because I find that the two disciplines suffer from balancing deformations professionelle...
Published on 15 Jun 2001 by S. Matthews


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intense thought provoking work., 19 Nov 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: On History (Paperback)
It is clear from the outset that this book is aimed at those who already have a wider understanding of some of the broad debates within the historical community, though at the same time that is not to say it is written with an air of exclusivity. I say understanding for if you already have opinions on how and why history should be conducted, particularly as a subject for academic study, then it will assist greatly in deciding whether or not you agree with the opinions offered by Hobsbawm. One of the most notable scholars of our age, he again asserts his importance within the historical community and demonstrates his skill at appreciating exactly what it is to study history in theory and in practice, and how it is still, ever important and indeed, relevant to the modern world. Covering a variety of topics through essay format, the roles of such subjects as social history, Marx, and the Annales school as well as economic history and even modern day barbarism all help the student, the established academic and the amateur historian alike to appreciate for themselves the complexities of our subject. This is not a light read, nor is it something that one will instantly understand and many will fail to concur with the books central arguments and views, but such is the nature of history. Hobsbawm provides us with one of the most thought provoking works of recent years and reminds us that debate among the historical community with regard to the way it is conducted in general, not just in terms of particular periods and issues, is far from dead. A high recommendation from this student of history to any other.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our most talented living historian, 30 Oct 2002
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This review is from: On History (Paperback)
Eric Hobsbawm, now well into his 80s, continues to write excellent history. On History is a series of essays and lectures which attempt to give students of history a philosophical and theoretical basis with which to continue their studies.
He looks at concepts such as progress and history, economics and history, Marxism and history, and History from Below. Anyone studying the subject now owes a great debt to Eric Hobsbawm, and every student should read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top brain, mostly very interesting, 21 Jan 2014
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This review is from: On History (Paperback)
For an amateur historian, this is a broad sweep of answers to the question: Why are we bothered with history? What's it all about
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful writings by a great mind, 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: On History (Kindle Edition)
I bought this as I was keen to learn the methodology used by one of the great historians of our time. His views on the uses of history are a must read and I found his writings on economic historians to be of great use.

Great buy
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11 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very disappointing, and only for the converted, 15 Jun 2001
This review is from: On History (Paperback)
I read this looking for intelligent historiographical reflection on the problem of reconciling a Marxist perspective with (a specifically economic) historical analysis. I usually enjoy reading historians and economists beating each other up, and learn a lot from the results, because I find that the two disciplines suffer from balancing deformations professionelle.
This book is an unfortunate exception. Since Hobsbawm does not accept that there might be anything questionable about the internal coherence of Marx's economics, or even its plausibility, he cannot even see that such an discussion might be worth developing. In fact he does not even demonstrate that he has much understanding of what economists, as opposed to marxist historians, even mean by economics. Marx, for him is a god who has never failed, with the result that his historography is feeble theology.
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5 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not history, metahistory, 15 Jun 2009
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Mr. N. S. Wedd (Oxford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On History (Paperback)
I bought this book thinking it was about history. I was mistaken. This is no fault of the author, who writes very well; but what he writes about (at least in this book) is not history, it is the study of history. He has a lot to say, and says it well, about how history has been studied, is studied, and ought to be studied. Embedded in this are fascinating little nuggets, generally no more than two sentences long, of actual history. But this is not what I was looking for. I accept that this is my fault, so I can't rate it badly; but be warned.
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2 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A great cure for insomnia, 19 Feb 2011
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B. Fenning (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: On History (Paperback)
Put simply, this book uses a thousand words where ten might suffice. Half the time I don't think the author knew what he was rambling on about. At the very least Hobsbawm comes across as the most pretentious man in the universe, and this book is a tribute to smug academic excess. To be fair these are based on his lectures so I guess you 'had to be there'. If you value your humanity don't read this book.
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