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How to change the worl...
Eric J. Hobsbawm
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How to change the world : reflections on Marx and Marxism

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  334 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In the 144 years since Karl Marx's Das Kapital was published, the doctrine that bears his name has been embraced by millions in the name of equality, and just as dramatically has fallen from grace with the retreat of communism from the western world. But as the free market reaches its extreme limits in the economic and environmental fallout, a reassessment of capitalism's ...more
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Published May 29th 2011 by Yale University Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Geoffrey Fox
Marx is back. Even finance capitalists like George Soros are re-reading him with attention, and — more tentatively, after the terrible experience of Stalinism — leftists are rediscovering him. Hobsbawm notes two main reasons: 1st, the collapse of the Soviet Union "liberated Marx from public identification with Leninism in theory and with Leninist regimes in practice," and 2d, "the globalised capitalist world that emerged in the 1990s was in crucial ways uncannily like the world anticipated by Ma ...more
Brilliant book, but really, Hobsbawm's publishers have badly let him down with that title which completely misrepresents what this book is about. Perhaps it says more about me that I don't see the need for a lame attempt to sex this book up with a title like that. But it has to be said that this is no book of vacuous polemic: Hobsbawm is clearly deeply committed to the insights of Marx and Marxism but this book is first and foremost a history of those ideas, from the contexts and earliest recept ...more
Reading this felt as ponderous as writing the last two Game of Thrones books must have felt for George R.R. Martin. Which is not to say it was bad. It’s just that written in the author’s 94th year, and addressing his life’s principal passion, the writings and legacy of Mr. K.M. himself.

So in the first part, he lays out the 70 odd years of thoughts he’s had as to what Marx actually wrote and what it actually meant, and what’s been overlooked by scholars from the lesser known or untranslated works
Cassandra Kay Silva
Not enough about Marxism and too much history and "who's-who-ing". Its not that I don't like history or these specific time periods and I have a massive fascination with with communist/socialist view, but I just got sick of all the 'he published this that and the other' and the collating people together bit.
It is really a collection of essays written over a number of years. Some of them are more interesting than others but there is plenty of food for thought in the book as a whole.
Peter De Cauwer
I've rated this book '3' - nice and snug in the middle, and that's exactly how I felt about it.

On the one hand, Hobsbawm really does know what he's writing about, and even though it's a potpourri of earlier essays and articles it's an excellent introduction into the wonderful world of Karl Marx. Rather, it's like an old, well-read uncle telling you about how much of a great thinker Karl Marx really was. And you believe him, because Marxism is indeed a wonderful analytical tool to understand the
Instructions for reading this somewhat heavy going tome for the Marxian beginner:

1. Accept that you are unlikely to understand everything in this book, or indeed be interested by everything in this book. Tell yourself that if you catch a glimpse of light flashing from one or three of its many facets you will be doing well, but comprehension of the entire shape is the preserve of the expert.

2. Conjour up a mental image of Hobsbawm (Google images for inspiration, or simply imagine your grandad's o
Titus Hjelm
It's one of the most readable and informative books on Marx and Marxism *if* you don't expect to learn how to change the world or read about Che Guevara. I guess a common discrepancy between the content and the publisher's marketing department is the reason for the title and cover. The actual book is a combination of at times heavy exegesis of Marx and Engels' original work and the reception history of Marx and later thinkers. Although the book is actually a collection of earlier articles, they ...more
I was a bit disappointed that this book at times reads like the collection of essays and book introductions it largely is, and the whole appeared to be a bit less than the sum of its parts. At several points the recent economic crisis was mentioned as a reason to look back to Marx's thoughts and writings, but the next bit discussing what Marx can tell us about this, or where the left can go next wasn't greatly explored. A fascinating review of various interpretations and thoughts on Marxism over ...more
Aden Dohn
figured i should read some hobsbawm. this was pretty academic for me, most of it written for marx scholars but there were some good chapters that focused on pre-marx and engels socialism and its influences. maybe something to revisit 50 years later when i am smart.
Heavy going so far, unfortunately. Zzzzz.
Rahul Vaidya
The sweep of Hobsbawm's vision and practice of historical materialism is breathtaking. The cyclical ups and downs in the fortunes of Marx's popularity in the intellectual circles is one constant theme of the book which is firmly located in the larger socio-political-economic context, the position and tactics of Marxist- social democratic parties and corresponding changes in the nature and organic composition of capitalism as well as the working class. The practice is 'historical materialist' in ...more
In a sense it is fitting the Hobsbawm’s penultimate book should be a collection that explores both the founders and legacies of Marxism; he was, after all, the last of the generation of scholars who shook up the world of British history with their Marx-inspired scholarship during the 1950s and 1960s (and I think the last surviving member of the Communist Party Historians’ Group). It was this group of historians – along with Hobsbawm, Rodney Hilton, E P Thompson, Dorothy Thompson, Christopher Hil ...more
I felt some slight trepidation approaching this book, as I haven't studied history since I was 17 and know relatively little about Marxism. I did try and read 'Capital' last summer, but ignominiously failed at the third preface. I've read the Communist Manifesto, though, years ago. In any event, I learned a great deal from this book and, as with all the best non-fiction, it made me realise how much else I don't know.

'How to Change the World' is a collection of Hobsbawm's writing on Marx and Marx
This is what is purports to be: A history of Marxist hermeneutics and reception. There is much to gain from reading Hobsbawm's historical analysis--although he could have gone further--particularly, if he knows so much, why does he not offer an idea of his own about where to go with Marx in the 21st century? The last paragraphs are apt, but also leave too much left unsaid.

"Once again it is manifest that the economic system's operations must be analysed both historically...and realistically, ie:
Eccezionale la parte dedicata a Gramsci (nonché all' "anomalia italiana"), che da sola vale l'acquisto del libro. E altrettanto utile mi è parsa la trattazione delle formazioni precapitalistiche: una questione alquanto complessa che Hobsbawm riesce a chiarire senza mai banalizzarla, anzi infondendole la vivacità e il senso che decenni di vulgata marxista le avevano tolto. Tuttavia mi aspettavo di più da un autore di questa caratura: più storia delle idee e meno storia della ricezione; pagine e p ...more
One of the most insightful and revealing critiques of Marx and Marxism of the past few years. Britain's pre-eminent Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, traces the work of Marx and Engels right back to the earliest influences on socialism, through to the publication of 'The Communist Manifesto', the October Revolution, the decline of Marxism in the 1970's, right up to the Great Crash of 2008. The chapters on Antonio Gramsci, and Marxism in the 20th Century, particularly the noble role played by Mar ...more
Parvinder Singh
Those interested or grappling with the constant changes and social narrative for a more inclusive and equal world. This is a refreshing read combining analysis of theory and praxis of the marxian philosophy.
Got a Malayalam copy... interesting....
Okay, so I didn't actually finish this book. I was halfway through when my bag got stolen in the train last weekend. What I did manage to get through I had mixed feeling about. A lot of it I should have just scanned; Hobsbawm covers a lot of ground, both historically and theoretically, and I didn't find all of it relevant...but when he gets at the good stuff, man does he ever. And I was in the middle of just such a good bit when...

Someday I will have to read the second half.
Julia Boechat Machado
O título não é muito exato, o livro é mais sobre como Marx mudou o mundo. Muito interessante, no entanto.
Daryl Grigsby
Aug 05, 2011 Daryl Grigsby is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
one of my favorite historians
Jan 27, 2011 lita marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
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Prerequisite reads for this book 2 10 Jul 20, 2013 05:29AM  
  • Why Marx Was Right
  • A Companion to Marx's Capital
  • Lineages of the Absolutist State
  • Karl Marx: His Life and Environment
  • For Marx
  • The Accumulation of Capital
  • Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky
  • Main Currents of Marxism: The Founders, the Golden Age, the Breakdown
  • The Condition of the Working Class in England
  • The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View
  • The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire
  • Liberalism: A Counter-History
  • Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels
  • The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850
  • The Making of the English Working Class
  • The Antonio Gramsci Reader: Selected Writings 1916-1935
  • Marxism and Literature
  • To the Finland Station
Eric Hobsbawm, a self-confessed "unrepentant communist" was professor emeritus of economic and social history of the University of London at Birkbeck. He has written many acclaimed historical works, including a trilogy on the nineteenth-century; The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, and The Age of Empire and is the author of The Age of Extremes: The Short 20th Century 1914-1991 and his recent ...more
More about Eric J. Hobsbawm...
The Age of Extremes: A History of the World 1914-1991 The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 The Age of Empire, 1875-1914 The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality

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