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The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848 1st Vintage Books ed Edition

34 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0679772538
ISBN-10: 0679772537
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Editorial Reviews


The work is challenging, learned, brilliant in its analytical power, wide-ranging in its lucid exposition of literary, aesthetic and scientific achievments and packed with novel insight. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW Brilliant. TLS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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This magisterial volume follows the death of ancient traditions, the triumph of new classes, and the emergence of new technologies, sciences, and ideologies, with vast intellectual daring and aphoristic elegance. Part of Eric Hobsbawm's epic four-volume history of the modern world, along with The Age of Capitalism, The Age of Empire, and The Age of Extremes.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (November 26, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679772537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679772538
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Virgil on July 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
The sign of a well-written and well-argued book is that it is one that challenges your world view by making you re-think and review your position. It doesn't matter that it convinces you, it matters that it makes you sharpen your thought process. The Age of Revolution does this well.
Hobsbawm's Age of Revolution (and his entire "Age of..." series) sees western history in marxian terms, a distinctly non-American approach. I must admit that I have a special affinity for Age of Revolution. I first read it in the early 80's as an undergraduate in history and while it didn't make me anywhere near a marxist it was the first to allow me to see history from a different angle than conventional/traditional histories. I've been a reader of Hobsbawm ever since, disagreeing- often- with his analysis, but always respecting his perspective.
Age of Revolutions deals with the decisive era that began with the French Revolution and ends with the revolutions of 1848 (and includes of course the Industrial Revolution). Hobsbawm writes as from a generalist perspective for the general reader of history (for non-historian's at least some background in Western European history is recommended before tackling this book).
A classic writing of European history.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
(4.5 stars)
In his preface, Hobsbawn explains: "The object of this book is not detailed narrative, but interpretation and what the French call haute vulgarisation. Its ideal reader is that theoretical construct, the intelligent and educated citizen, who is not merely curious about the past, but wishes to understand how and why the world has come to be what it is today and whither it is going. Hence it would be pedantic and uncalled-for to load the text with as heavy an apparatus of scholarship as it ought to carry for a more learned public. My notes therefore refer almost entirely to the sources of actual quotations and figures, or in some cases to the authority for statements which are particularly controversial or surprising."
I quote Hobswan's preface in full because it seems to capture the great strengths and modest weaknesses of this book. First, the prose. It can be cumbersome, particularly when bearing the weight of unfamiliar names, places and "isms." But the complexity is necessary in my opinion. The author is trying to stuff sweeping movements, grand figures of history, and the captial "M" Modern revolution into 300 pages of declarative sentences without abridging the truth. That's hard work. And as readers, we are asked to do some hard work as well.
But that brings up the great strength of Hobswan's work. He succeeds. Ideas like "Nationalism" and "Industrialism" become understandable in twenty pages or less. You see how the railroads were born and how they fueled speculation. How we all used to live in the country, isolated, living and dying in the same county, perhaps never to receive more than a letter (there were no newspapers, no mass media of any type) from the outside world.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By on August 14, 1998
Format: Paperback
Though it was originally published in 1962, Eric Hobsbawm's The Age of Revolution still can be considered one of the most astute and authoritative analyses of the French and Industrial Revolutions. Through his recognition that these two revolutions were linked through various historical circumstances Hobsbawm illuminates the period that began with the rise of Jacobinism and ended with the failure of the 1848 uprisings. Unfortunately, Hobsbawm's work in not accesible to the novice historian. The reader must possess at least a casual knowledge of the French and Industrial Revolutions to adequetely comprehend Hobsbawm's conclusions.
Additionally, some readers might rebuke Hobsbawm for his at times awkward phrasing. Of course, most historians struggle severely with writing as a result of the monumental difficulties inherent in the endeavor of trying to record through language the essence of a historical period. Consequently, Hobsbawm should be forgiven if a few of his sentences require re-reading.
Irrespective of the simply technical, however, the Age of Revolution suggests why Hobsbawm is considered to be one of the great modern historians. Certainly, some readers are critical of Hobsbawm for his Marxist tendancies, but these crtics generally are serving their instinctual prejudices rather than maintaining an adherence to objective reasoning. Hobsbawm possesses a mind that shuns simple conclusions in favor of complex answers that raise even more complex questions.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Moy on September 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
In The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848, Eric Hobsbawm examines sixty pivotal years beginning with the construction of the first factory system in Lancashire and the French Revolution in 1789 and concluding with the publication of the Communist Manifesto in 1848. According to Hobsbawm, the period was marked by two watershed events, the twin upheavals of the British Industrial Revolution and the contemporaneous French Revolution. Described as "twin craters of a larger, regional volcano," Hobsbawm stresses the far-reaching societal impact of these revolutions beyond the borders of the two rival nations. The introduction of a bourgeois middle class within a capitalist industrial reorganization of social relations formed what Hobsbawm identifies as "the greatest transformation in human history" since Mesopotamia. Giving rise to explosive new capital and social opportunities, the volcano unleashed unforeseen destabilizing forces capable of collapsing the top-heavy liberal, capitalist expansion. According to Hobsbawm, the publication of the Communist Manifesto marked the beginning of a worldwide social critique and chain reaction, testifying to the pervasive influence, at once promising and tragic, of the dual revolution in Britain and France.
Hobsbawm launches his discussion by first describing the agrarian/feudal world of 1780 and the preconditions that fostered the Industrial and French Revolutions. Britain was free of a feudal monarch, and private enterprise had been accepted in that nation for more than a century. Britain also had the natural resources and colonial empire necessary to provide the raw materials, primarily coal and cotton, to fuel a rapid industrial expansion.
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