Eric Hobsbawm, the joy of history and all that jazz

The writer’s global appeal will remain something for the history books

We all lose by not having Eric Hobsbawm absorb the geopolitical dementia of the early 21st century to later refine it in sharp, crisp historical analysis. 

A new, exhaustive biography, ‘Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History,’ by his former student and Regius Professor of History Emeritus at Cambridge, Richard Evans – out now in the UK and in the US in April – allows us to evaluate the extent of our loss.

It all starts with – what else – an undying love of good books: “In the end, one doesn’t just read them, one lives with them. That’s civilization.” That’s so apt coming from someone who in 1940, during the war, read “100 pages of Stendhal on the back of a lorry – a gesture of civilization.”

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