Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heaping scorn on an historian

Does a historian deserve that label if he (or she) writes from an openly biased perspective?

Eric Hobsbawm is recognized as one of the world's most important historians, but he also supports Communism. Is that an impossible dichotomy?

In reviewing Mr. Hobsbawm's latest book, one critic, writing in the Wall Street Journal, says yes.
In "How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism," Mr. Hobsbawm's latest attempt to grapple with Karl Marx's legacy of ashes, the author remains an accomplished denier of reality. Drawn from essays and speeches spanning the past 50 years, Mr. Hobsbawm's book ruminates on pre-Marxian socialism, the works of the Italian communist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, and a slew of internecine ideological battles that will be of interest mainly to academics and unreconstructed militants.
The more recent material in "How to Change the World," written after the fall of the Soviet Union, claims that regimes self-identified as Marxist shouldn't be allowed to sully the reputation of Marxism—despite all the statues of Marx that once dotted the communist world, the constant invocations of "Das Kapital" and "The Communist Manifesto," and the savage collectivization schemes.
This link will take you to the Amazon.com page for "How to Change the World".

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