October 3, 2012, 9:09 pm
Eric Hobsbawm (from Wikipedia)
The passing of Eric Hobsbawm on October 1 severs one of the last, and strongest, links between the mostly tragic and at times heroic era of the early and mid-20th century—the subject of his last major book, The Age of Extremes (1994)—and the intellectual and the political world we inhabit today.
His death is a reminder that many of the debates, beliefs, and passions that animate us now have roots in the great struggles of the 20th century between capitalism and communism, and fascism and liberal democracy. Hobsbawm, a Marxist historian, helped explain the convoluted links between that past and our present.
Part of his brilliance came from his enormous reach. He seemed to know almost everything about the modern world as well as earlier times. His first major historical work…