Born almost a hundred years ago in Vienna - the cultural heart of a bourgeois Mitteleurope - Eric Hobsbawm, who was to become one of the most brilliant and original historians of our age, was uniquely placed to observe an era of titanic social and artistic change. As the century progressed, the forces of Communism and Dadaism, Ibiza and cyberspace, would do battle with the bourgeois high culture fin-de-siècle Vienna represented - the opera, the Burgtheater, the museums of art and science, City Hall. In Fractured Times Hobsbawm unpicks a century of cultural fragmentation and dissolution with characteristic verve and vigour.
Hobsbawm examines the conditions that created the great cultural flowering of the belle époque and held the seeds of its disintegration, from paternalistic capitalism to globalisation and the arrival of a mass consumer society. Passionate but never sentimental, Hobsbawm ranges freely across his subject: he records the passing of the golden age of the 'free intellectual' and examines the lives of great, forgotten men; he analyses the relation between art and totalitarianism and dissects cultural phenomena as diverse as surrealism, women's emancipation and the American cowboy myth.
Written with consummate imagination and skill, Fractured Times is the last book from one of our greatest modern-day thinkers.
'Hobsbawm's talents and expertise are firmly on display' Noel Malcolm, Daily Telegraph
Eric Hobsbawm, one of the most brilliant and original historians of our age, was born almost one hundred years ago and grew up in Vienna and Berlin. His early life placed him perfectly to observe the forthcoming era of titanic social and artistic change. As the twentieth century wore on, bourgeois fin de siècle culture was forcefully confronted by myriad new movements and ideologies, from communism and extreme nationalism to Dadaism to the emergence of information technology. In Fractured Times, Hobsbawm, with characteristic verve and consummate imagination and skill, unpicks a century of such fragmentation, in the last book from one of our greatest modern-day thinkers.
'A historian of exceptional lucidity, with a staggering range and ease of reference . . . As he goes back in time, the essays catch fire . . . They remind us that Hobsbawm didn't only have a commanding knowledge of the history of the 'short 20th century': he lived it, and he gave it a name' Sam Leith, Spectator
'Fractured Times shows this revolutionary traditionalist at his best . . . No historian was better at deploying a killer fact to make an argument stick in your mind' Nick Cohen, Guardian