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Primitive Rebels (Norton Library) Paperback – October 17, 1965


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Product Details

  • Series: Norton Library
  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 17, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393003280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393003284
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A Fellow of the British Academy and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Eric Hobsbawm is the author of more than twenty books of history, including The Age of Revolution and The Age of Extremes. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on August 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
The recently deceased British historian E.J. Hobsbawn, notwithstanding his unrepentant Stalinism to the end, wrote many interesting historical studies in his very long career. The book under review, Primitive Rebels, was an early effort to trace the sociological roots of rebellion in the period of the rise of capitalism. We all know that the development of the capitalist mode of production as it started in Europe was both a long and uneven process. The way various sections of the poor in European society, mainly rural and small town workers, responded and adjusted to its demands is the core of this study. Not all resistance movements of the time led naturally to the three great political movements that defined the plebian respond to early capitalism-socialism, communism and anarchism- but those are the ones that drew masses of people around their programs and this is the focus of this work.

Professor Hobsbawn divided his study into two basic parts. The agrarian response, particularly in heavily agrarian Southern Europe, and the urban response, particularly in the small towns of Northern Europe, where capitalist development gained a huge foothold. Although there are some similarities in the response of both components local conditions such as tradition, geography and custom played a key role in whether the response became an organized one or faded in the onslaught. To that end he touches upon the history of social banditry and millennialism in the agrarian milieu and the strong pull of anarchism especially in Spain on the other.
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Do not hesitate on buying it. My mother tounge is spanish and understanding Hobsbawm writing can be a challenge at times, but I do recommend reading the original english book. Hobsbawm goes into making a list of those he considers are Primitive Rebels and explaining whats behind those included in the list.
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By Christopher Arnberg on November 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent, if brief, overview of several pre-modern resistance groups. This work looks at several groups who went against the established order; what they share in common is a lack of program - insuring that they will either die out or become co-opted into other movements (or the establishment). It is interesting to compare these groups to some more modern intellectual currents, such as postmodernism and the Merry Pranksters.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful By rolando c esteban on April 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
It provides a new perspective toward the understanding of dissent that is contrapuntal to mainstream discourse that until then either demonized or pathologised dissent.
Its width and scope such as comes only from historical analysis infuses new ideas into the analysis of dissent always a quest for freedom.
It draws away the analysis from revolutions that above all else is celebratory of ideology to forms of dissent that are as much as liberating, if not manifesting a deeper consciousness of the dissent-freedom nexus that underlies all revolutions.
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1 of 19 people found the following review helpful By sunshinekt on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was required to read this as part of a non-western intensive writing course in college and it was the hardest book to get through. I am a Biology major so this is out of my realm of comfort and maybe that is why I did not enjoy it as much as the other reviewers. I found an arrogance in the style of Hobsbawm's writing which really bothered me. Overall, my favorite part of this book was the part where I put it down.
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