Friday, August 31, 2007

Image of the 20th Century: by Mr. Eric Hobsbawm

Great British historian Eric Hobsbawm (b. 1917) has created one of the most amazing history narratives to date. His books Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, Age of Empire, Age of Extremes and On the Edge of the New Century, manage to beautifully synthesize the history of the western world (and its dominions – the rest of the world) from the 1750’s right into the New Millenium in a way that will blow readers minds for time to come. Brilliant writing, impeccable research, and tender, human insight about humans make these 2001 or so pages an intellectual rush for anyone who dares to take the ride.

In his 1999 book “On the Edge of the New Century” Hobsbawm states that for him, the image that defines the 20th Century isn't that of the “Agricultural Worker”, whom started to disappear – moving into cities – after tens of thousands of years of living off the land. It isn’t either that image of the “Office Worker in front of a computer”, just a small percentage of the World’s population today. Nor the image of the “Factory Worker” who more and more has to be pushed aside by automation in order to generate permanent increases in productivity.

For Hobsbawm, the image that summarizes the 20th Century is that of a “Woman with her Children”. Guess why? THINK.

Women Berlin 1
A Woman and her Children... by the end of the summer.
Berlin 2006.

Salut! Mr. Hobsbawm.