Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life Paperback – 2 Oct 2003
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Our greatest living historian - not only Britain's, but the world's (SPECTATOR)
A remarkable book (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
Autobiography does not come much more sumptuous than this. Eric Hobsbawm writes with elegant, witty precision . . . The past he remembers lives again in these pages. . . His interesting times are also extraordinary (OBSERVER)
This is the work of a great historian at the height of his powers. (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)
*The controversial autobiography of one of the most celebrated historians of our timeSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a dense, literate book and the style takes a bit of getting used to, but then becomes a wonderful easy read, full of fascinating incidental musings (especially on New York and Jazz) and intriguing characters. Moroever it is an intellectual's autobiography & it is especially interesting to read about the development of ideas and their impact. I'm docking one point because not enough of Hobsbawm the man is seen, but even so, I feel privileged to have had this insight into a very interesting life in very very interesting times. Highly recommended.
Already the chapters about the France and Italy of the decades between 1930 and 1995 (the author actually experienced this period of time personally) are wonderful, small books for itself. Written excellently this book can easily be read and is never superficial. A fine consumption perhaps like the red wine to a good meal. Unfortunately, it is also the slightly melancholy look back to the times that more and more seem to have been the golden age of the last centuries. In terms of Hobsbawm who simplifies consciously it were the times when the rich ones had to fear the poor ones. Hobsbawm considers his own life as an unusual and not at all foreseeable case of luck. It is generous that he invides us to take part in his review of interesting and personally lucky times.
It is one of the best books which I know. I would like to always have a stack to the hand - for giving away a copy to friends.
He tackles the question of why he stayed a communist for so long, even after the Stalin years forced so many believers to reevaluate their views. He discusses America frankly, past (loves New York, hates the suburbs near Stanford University) and present (the reaction to Sept. 11). He reminisces about wars, academia, and jazz.
About the only question he doesn't address is when and why he changed the spelling of his last name. Unimportant perhaps, but curious. A readable, entertaining, and thoughtful memoir of an interesting man in a troubled century.
In "Interesting Times", Hobsbawm has taken the step of writing his own autobiography. Now normally an autobiography of a famous figure is interesting for two reasons: first, to see the development of his or her views and positions, whether politically or scientifically; and second, to get an idea of the man or woman as an individual person, with quirks and preferences and a personality. The odd thing about this particular work, and that is perhaps the failure of autobiography as a medium, is that it succeeds very well in the former, but not at all in the latter.
Hobsbawm traces his family history, tells us all about his Cambridge years, his acquaintance with Communism, his personal familiarity with basically every significant European Communist of the past century as well as every significant historian of the same, his struggles within the CPGB to promote a sane political line, and so forth. Along the way, we get some slight comments on the occasional lady of interest, and some reflections on his politics.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the ‘Preface’ to his autobiography, Interesting Times, Eric Hobsbawm makes some quick and self-deprecatory remarks. Read morePublished 8 months ago by SJK
I just wish Hobsbawm had learnt to write coherently in EnglishPublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fine addition to collection of modern philosophers! Thank you seller.Published 14 months ago by Harry Donaghy
This is a very readable book, even the chapters on his academic life kept my interest in a gossipy way despite my unfamiliarity with the historians referred to. Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2014 by Aquilonian
The author's unusual perspective, that of an Anglo-Austrian convert to Communism and to Britain, makes this an interesting read. Read morePublished on 29 Jan. 2014 by Salamander
He was loyal to the underdog, dispossessed, and championed the labour movement. Acknowledges the cruelty and injustice of the ZionistsPublished on 8 May 2013 by Doretta Meshiea
As a 79 year old and having been on the left of politics, and a jazz fan all my life, this was a very good read. Hobsbawm brought back memories long forgotten. Read morePublished on 14 Dec. 2012 by B. Hough