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The Age of Capital, 1848-1875
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The Age of Capital, 1848-1875

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,271 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A major treatment of the crucial years 1848-1875 - a penetrating analysis of the rise of capitalism throught the world. In the 1860s a new word entered the economic and political vocabulary of the world: "capitalism". The global triumph of capitalism is the major theme of history in the decades after 1848. It was the triumph of a society which believed that economic growth...more
Paperback, 394 pages
Published 1997 by Abacus (first published June 1st 1975)
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howl of minerva
The chapter on the arts alone is worth several times the price of admission.

Among the many many things I learned: the origins of hipsterism. The phenomenon of bourgeois youth performing a brief, sterile, apolitical, highly stylised rebellion against the materialism of their parents by retreating into some dubiously artistic enclave and imitating the lifestyle of the working class is an invention of the Parisian bohème of the late 19th century. Like all the best insights, should have been obvious...more
Justin Evans
As brilliant as this is as a work of synthesis, I wonder if it might help to know something about the era before you start reading? I knew a little, and it helped enormously. Hobsbawm has a habit of referring to historical events which aren't generally well known as if they were as familiar as Beatles lyrics, which can be frustrating even if you know something about the time. Hobsbawm himself recommends some out of print books for this purpose, and unfortunately I don't know any good books to re...more
Colin Macdonald
This is a deeply frustrating book. There's a lot of solid historical information and interesting insights here, but it's all buried in horribly convoluted writing. This is coming from someone who's pretty comfortable with 18th century enlightenment writers like Gibbon, Johnson, and Smith. I'm OK with complex sentence structure, but this is something else. It's almost stream-of-consciousness, peppered with digressions, asides, unnecessary details, caveats, exclusions, qualifiers, and elliptical r...more
lyell bark
"very nice." you could probably have more fun times in this particular time period by reading "late victorian holocausts" by mike davis as a companion piece, or something. also there's a nice sentence where he's like "everyone was a liberal [in classical sense, obviously here folks] then, the way no one is now." guess hobsbawm circa '75 wasn't expecting thatcher and hadn't heard about what reagan had done to california/was planning on doing to america/the world [take a big alzheimer's crap on it...more
I feel like I sabotaged this book (and "Revolution") a bit by getting distracted in the middle of them and picking up other books, and then later finishing Hobsbawm's a chapter at a time. With "Empire," I was assigned the book and had a week to read it, and so I didn't get distracted and maybe that's why I enjoyed that one the most.
Still, H deserves five stars for the trilogy as a whole. This is probably the best presentation of the standard Marxist western narrative of globalization and modern...more
we asked her where he husband was.

‘he’s in america.’
‘what does he do there?’
‘he’s got a job as tsar.’
‘but how can a jew be tsar?’
‘everything’s possible in america’, she answered.

scholem alejchem, 1900.
It's quite hard to tell, but I think this might be the best of the series. Only by a matter of degrees, mind. The same comments that apply to The Age of Revolution apply here - this is a thematic overview, and a companion text that deals with more straightforwardly narrative history would be ideal.

The usual caveats about overview historical works apply, too - no overview can cover everything, no scholar can know even a fraction of all the literature for such a broad period and area. And, of cour...more
Shane Avery
It's hard to think about Hobsbawm or his work without admiration; he writes world history about as well as one could hope...

"even the most traditional rural patterns of culture were undermined, not so much by migration as by education. For once primary education becomes available to the masses, traditional culture inevitably ceases to be basically oral and face-to-face, and splits into a superior or dominant culture of the literate and an inferior or recessive one of the non-literate. Education...more
Happy Labor Day! The second in Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm's "Age" quartet, covering world history (mostly European) between 1848-1870s. Not quite as illuminating as Age of Revolution (which covered 1793-1848), but worth the slog through. Sections on the Taiping Revolution in China, the "wild west" of the US, and the radical intellectuals in Russia were particularly interesting; I also love Hobsbawm's attempts to capture the zeitgeist of the period -- he's a historian who is interested not o...more
If you love reading history like me, you've probably thought to yourself: Why do all histories center around heads of state and specific powerful individuals when surely a history of ideas quantitative data could present a truer history. This, my friends, is Hobsbawm. A real snoozer but great in small doses. read it with a less, let's say modernist, history covering the same time period and it can be like fine wine with a nice pate: delicious and nutritious!
Wonderful insight into the time before and after the Civil War in the USA. Several themes sound familiar today.

I like President Ulysses S Grant's quote: As commerce, education, and the rapid transition of thought and matter, by telegraph and steam have changed everything, I rather believe that the great Maker is preparing the world to become one nation, speaking one language, a consummation which will render armies and navies no longer necessary.
Incredible work as ever by the great Marxist historian
There can be great pleasure derived from an old style history book such as this. The author has a certain period of time that he wants to analyze and he gives a very readable overview. The author has his agenda and bias, left-wing but not militantly so, but in an era of increasing, sometimes absurd specialization in the field of history, it's nice to have the big picture sometimes.
Julian Schlaen
Jul 19, 2013 Julian Schlaen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Javier Valeiro
Recommended to Julian by: Luciano Schlaen
Shelves: historia
Un periodo muy interesante en el que el capitalismo comienza a tomar su forma actual, moldeando las instituciones y las relaciones (tanto macro como micro).

Hobsbawm hace más fácil la comprensión del proceso, si bien sus idas y vueltas a veces no son tan fáciles de seguir.

Por otro lado la traducción no es del todo buena: frases sin sentido, puntuación faltante, etc.
Michael Oliver
A fascinating book, but Hobsbawm's sentence structure can be infuriating at times. I found myself having to re-read sentences in order to understand the point he was trying to make.

That said, the depth of research and insight is astounding. If it had been a little more fluent in places, then I would've rated it higher.
Samer Kallas
مؤرخ عالمي من النخب اﻷول، ومحلل موضوعي شمولي، يعيد بناء الصورة التاريخية بكافة جوانبها وظروفها وأسبابها، ابتداء من الثورة المزدوجة (الثورة الصناعية والثورة الفرنسية 1789) وحتى نهاية القرن العشرين. عبر مؤلفات أربعة ضخمة: عصر الثورة، عصر رأس المال، عصر الامبراطورية، عصر التطرفات. كتاب ممتع لمحبي التاريخ
Gregory Levine
Meticulously researched, and full of facts and data well drawn together. However, it lacks coherence, as Hobsbawm divides the book into chapters that deal with broad subjects. It is missing the organization of a chronological account or the compelling reading of a history based on personalities.
Otávio Augusto
Alluring. I would wonder why is it I've read so many novels if not for Neil Gaimans commentaries on what should be a writer's wannabe interests.
Does it seem boring? At first glance, might be. at second glance? Ditto. And still worth reading; read, and let the chips fall where they may.
A lot of what we take for granted in modern society originated in this period. It was interesting to read about how the bourgeoisie viewed democracy and how they conceived of the relationship between capitalism and government.
Wow! Eric Hobsbawm had to be the most learned Marxist historian around. This is the second in his four-part series on Western history since the French Revolution- I cannot wait to get to the next two.
Manuel J.
Wonderful reading! One travels with Hobsbawm across time, watching the evolution of society in a crucial period of world history, essential for understanding the twentieth century.
Bob Peru
pellucid analysis of the period. and the cat hates capitalism and "robber barons" and all that that stand for in all it's forms--emerging and otherwise.
Titus Hjelm
Even better than the age of revolution. Here Hobsbawm's Marxism shows itself properly for the first time, although this is no militant history. Brilliant.
I remember this as my favorite of Hobsbawm's 19th century trilogy, but they're all great and should be read together.
Detailed and Informative. Really puts into perspective the development of Capitalism as a system.
I accidentally marked the age of empire as already read, when I meant to do this one. anyway
Rami Khrais
متماسك وأكثر اتساقّا من كتابه الأوّل عصر الثورة
Greatest historian alive.
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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 Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality The Invention of Tradition

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