Who was Eric Hobsbawm?
Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (9 June 1917 – 1 October 2012) was a British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism and nationalism. His best-known works include his trilogy about what he called the "long 19th century" ('The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848', 'The Age of Capital: 1848–1875' and 'The Age of Empire: 1875–1914') and 'The Age of Extremes: the short 20th century'.
Hobsbawm was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and spent his childhood mainly in Vienna and Berlin. Following the death of his parents and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, Hobsbawm moved to London with his adoptive family. After serving in the Second World War, he obtained his PhD in History at the University of Cambridge. In 1998, he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. He was President of Birkbeck, University of London, from 2002 until he died.
In 2002, Hobsbawm was described by right-leaning magazine 'The Spectator' as "arguably our greatest living historian—not only Britain's, but the world's", while Niall Ferguson wrote: "That Hobsbawm is one of the great historians of his generation is undeniable ... His quartet of books beginning with 'The Age of Revolution' and ending with 'The Age of Extremes'constitute the best starting point I know for anyone who wishes to begin studying modern history.