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Eric Hobsbawm has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest living historians. Called "a lyrical, pungent, and provocative memoir" by Publishers Weekly, Interesting Times offers a personal tour through what Hobsbawm terms "the most extraordinary and terrible century in human history." The book takes us from his birth in Alexandria, Egypt, and early schooling in Weimar Berlin to his student days as a Cambridge Red and Apostle at King's College. Hobsbawm took E.M. Forster to hear Lenny Bruce, demonstrated with Bertrand Russell against nuclear arms, translated for Che Guevara in Havana, and inaugurated the modern history of banditry. With Interesting Times, we see the making of one of the Left's most important intellectuals, and the history of the twentieth century through the unforgiving eye of one of its most intensely engaged participants.
Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm grew up in a Viennese, Jewish middle-class home. The intense political climate of his youth--post-World War I--stimulated an interest in revolutionary causes. Following some years living with his family in Berlin, Hobsbawm left for schooling in England. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Cambridge University. In the 1940s, Hobsbawm entered the British army, eventually becoming a sergeant. His teaching career included posts at Birkbeck College, University of London in history and economic and social history, and in history at King's College, Cambridge; he has also taught at Stanford, MIT, Cornell, and the New School of Social Research. Hobsbawm has become one of England's preeminent Marxist historians, specializing in the history of the working classes, the Industrial Revolution, and European empires. He is the author of many surveys and studies, including titles on jazz and culture. Hobsbawm has received numerous awards and honorary degrees, and has been a member of various professional and historical societies.
"This is a wonderful book in many ways. It is often funny and sometimes very moving. It is full of dazzling insights into all sorts of matters. Yet there is something disconcerting about the way in which Hobsbawm veers away from questions about his own political commitment."
"Published at the age of 85, in its energy and trenchancy INTERESTING TIMES could have been written at 40."
From the Publisher
In this autobiography, the esteemed British historian Eric Hobsbawm recounts his early years and education, and explains his lifelong attachment to the communist philosophy.