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Book Title: The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991|
The author of the book: Eric Hobsbawm
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 16.99 MB
Date of issue: November 12th 1995
ISBN 13: 9780349106717
Read full description of the books The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991:So that rounds off Hobsbawm's tetralogy on the 19th and 20th centuries. 2000-odd pages of sustained historical brilliance that have changed the way I comprehend the world. In the absence of gods (and our inability to step outside of history to view it objectively) the nearest that we can come to a god's eye view is human genius.
Hobsbawm is undoubtedly such a genius, as evidenced by the universal praise this series has received from writers across the political spectrum. "I continue to believe that his great tetralogy – The Age of Revolution (1962), The Age of Industry (1975), The Age of Empire (1987) and The Age of Extremes (1994) – remains the best introduction to modern world history in the English language" writes a man whose political views could not be further from Hobsbawm's: Niall Ferguson.
An apparently omniscient, polyglot and polymathic erudition across the fields of economic, social, cultural and political history is an inexplicable feat. But in addition, Hobsbawm gathers these threads and weaves them into a coherent narrative with a verve and acerbic wit that blow the dust off those source tomes and bring them to life, in colour. A gift for phrasemaking surely doesn't hurt. Fascists are "the revolutionaries of counter-revolution." Women of the twentieth century are "suspended between the impermanence of their age and the permanence of their sex." In modern ethno-nationalism, "increasingly, one's identity had to be constructed by insisting on the non-identity of others". Hobsbawm's approach is perhaps best outlined in his description of Niels Bohr's complementarity: "There could be no single, directly comprehensive model. The only way of seizing reality was by reporting it in different ways, and putting them all together to complement each other in an 'exhaustive overlay of different descriptions that incorporate apparently contradictory notions'."
The great ideological struggles of the twentieth century have given way (at least in 'developed' countries) to a pervading individualism and the secular theocracy of the market. As Marx well understood, these forces have been the greatest engines for material, technological and scientific progress that mankind has ever seen. But the cracks that these forces, unchecked, are inducing in our personal, societal and environmental worlds are widening. For how much longer can they be plastered and papered over?
Das Dasein ist je in seinem faktischen Sein wie und 'was' es schon war. Ob ausdrücklich oder nicht, ist es seine Vergangenheit. (SuZ 20). The human being, in its actual Being, is in each individual case 'what' and how it already has been. Whether explicitly or not, it is its past. (Heidegger).
For anyone interested in understanding the modern world and their place in it, a sound grasp of modern history is indispensable. There is no better to place to start than with these books.
Read information about the authorEric Hobsbawm, a self-confessed "unrepentant communist", was professor emeritus of economic and social history of the University of London at Birkbeck. He wrote many acclaimed historical works, including a trilogy on the nineteenth-century: The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, and The Age of Empire, and was the author of The Age of Extremes: The Short 20th Century 1914-1991 and his recent autobiography, Interesting Times: A Twentieth-Century Life.
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