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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

on 9 September 2002
Eric Hobsbawm is a fantastically intelligent man. Having already charted modern history with a series of insightful and eloquent books, he has proceeded to chart the future in an interview with Antonio Polito. Hobsbawm is a Marxist historian, and believes that we can use history to understand the present, and to learn something about what we can expect from the future era. This book deal with the issues that are likely to dominate current affairs for the next few years; the changing nature of war; the nature of the state and its changing ethnicity’s; and the abuse of history to support current causes. This book, written at the time of the conflict in Kosovo, offers a refreshing alternative to what most papers at the time were writing. Pointing out that NATO attacked a civilian population with no declaration of war, destroying an embassy in the process. He quite amusingly, and not without accuracy, calls Tony Blair, “Thatcher in trousers”. Nevertheless it is a very interesting read and it would be very hard not to learn from it, if not just for his brilliant turns of phrase and explanations of new theory. According to one interpretation of the nation-state, “only one nation lives in the nation-state, and the others are minorities who live in the same place but are not part of the nation.” This is an academic book that does not intimidate the lay reader. A superb contemporary addition to ‘The Age of Extremes’.
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