He was a true encyclopaedic mind: as the Independent once wrote, ‘No historian now writing in English can match his overwhelming command of fact and source.’ Many could disagree with his leaning to the left, but none could ignore his arguments. Although he is most famous for other books, to me his study of Nations and nationalism was a colossally important revelation which helped comprehend the emergence of nationalist sentiments in the post-socialist world in Eastern Europe. At 65 he was Britain’s most respected Marxist historian. At 93, he published his last book, How to change the world: Tales of Marx and Marxism (here is a good review by Terry Eagleton, and another good review by Steffan Collini). It saddened me to read today’s obituary in the Guardian. It reveals an inspirational life story of a great mind. RIP, Professor Hobsbawm.
Tags: Eric Hobsbawm