Uncommon People: Resistance, Rebellion and Jazz Paperback – 2 Dec 1999
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Quite billiant...because he assembles his arguments with knowledge ranging across both countries and centuries, they have a rare potency (Scotsman)
Eric Hobsbawn has become informally enthroned as Britain's leading historian...ge combines a novelist's narrative power with an unrivalled command of detail and source (Neal Ascherson Observer)
Demonstrating that it is possible to be both erudite and accessible, he turns his attention to the "uncommon people" of the 18th and 19th centuries... [Hobsbawm] provides a brilliant deconstruction of the popular idea that revolution and sexual freedom are intrinsically connected. (SUNDAY TIMES)
Dump-if you have any- your preconceptions about Marxist history and buy this book. (OBSERVER)
One of the outstanding historians of our age (Independent on Sunday)
* Classic essays on the history of radical protest.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Some of the pieces are scholarly articles, whereas others are book reviews, lectures or magazine pieces. Some of these pieces where groundbreaking historical scholarship when they came out (e.g. the peasant land occupations; the "radical shoemakers") others are expressions of his life-long love of jazz.
The style varies but it is, throughout, very very rigorous: argument after radical arguent and impressive research.
Overall, this is a very good example of Hobsbawm's synthetic brilliance, his power of making history 'from below', and his deep human interest (combined with spectacular disciplinary rigour) in the so-called common people. Who are, it turns out, always fascinating, agents of their own history, and not determined by the 'great men' of conservative history: they are uncommon.
In short, recommended if you're new to EH (because you can dip in and out of areas that may interest you and see his breadth) and recommened if you've read EH's "The Age of..." masterworks (because it will allow you to understand where, intellectually and emotionally speaking, he's coming from).
A brilliant book: varied, ingenious, groundbreaking.
Under "The Radical Tradition", there are essays addressing Thomas Paine, the Luddites, the radicalism of shoemakers, the difference between labour traditions in France and Britain, the development of a distinctive working class culture, the skilled manual wage worker in Victorian moral frameworks, the iconography of male and female representations in labour movements, the origins and history of May Day as a working class celebration, the relationship between socialism and the avant-garde, and Labour Party stalwart Harold Laski.
"Country People" includes two longer essays, one providing a general overview of peasant politics, and a second study of land occupations, as well as an essay on the Sicilian Mafia.
The rubric "Contemporary History" features pieces Hobsbawm wrote while the embers were still hot, with pieces on Vietnam and guerilla warfare, May 1968, and sexual liberation. As a result they tend to feel dated, though as contemporary reports are still of interest for this very reason.
Finally, the "Jazz" section contains half a dozen reviews and short writings on Sidney Bechet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, jazz in Europe, jazz after 1960, and jazz's relationship with blues and rock.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hobsbawm, as usual is very original, wity, lively and very very interesting. Easily read and highly entertaining on various unusual subjectsPublished on 1 Sept. 2013 by mpm
One of the great historians of the 20C and a brilliant writer recalling and connecting his times, perceptions and enthusiasms.Published on 22 Feb. 2013 by VelvetGlove