Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
An intense thought provoking work.
on 19 November 2000
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.