Long live Eric Hobsbawm!
And fuck the BBC!
"You're just an old Marxist clutching at straws, aren't you."
He was sent to interview Hobsbawm to deliver that canned line.
But enough about the "Beeb."
I must confess I had no idea Hobsbawm was still alive. He must be about 100 years old.
The series of books he wrote on the 19th century are historiography at its best. He and his circle of comrades and fellow historians, especially E. P. Thompson and Christopher Hill, are owed a debt of gratitude--they democratized the study of history. The group of historians within the Communist Party of Great Britain were determined to write "history from below", and they succeeded brilliantly. They were aggressively revisionist, which might in lesser hands have led to biased, unbalanced work. Not so here. Hobsbawn, Thompson, and Hill are the gold standard on the rise of capital and imperialism, the British working class, and the English Civil War respectively. They are unequaled.