How to Change the World: Marx and Marxism 1840-2011

How to Change the World: Marx and Marxism 1840-2011

Eric Hobsbawm / Jul 16, 2019

How to Change the World Marx and Marxism In the years since Karl Marx s Das Kapital was published the doctrine that bears his name has been embraced by millions in the name of equality and just as dramatically has fallen from grace wit

  • Title: How to Change the World: Marx and Marxism 1840-2011
  • Author: Eric Hobsbawm
  • ISBN: 9781408702871
  • Page: 333
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the 144 years since Karl Marx s Das Kapital was published, the doctrine that bears his name has been embraced by millions in the name of equality, and just as dramatically has fallen from grace with the retreat of communism from the western world But as the free market reaches its extreme limits in the economic and environmental fallout, a reassessment of capitalism sIn the 144 years since Karl Marx s Das Kapital was published, the doctrine that bears his name has been embraced by millions in the name of equality, and just as dramatically has fallen from grace with the retreat of communism from the western world But as the free market reaches its extreme limits in the economic and environmental fallout, a reassessment of capitalism s most vigorous and eloquent enemy has never been timely Eric Hobsbawm provides a fascinating and insightful overview of Marxism He investigates its influences and analyses the spectacular reversal of Marxism s fortunes over the past thirty years.

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    About "Eric Hobsbawm"

      • Eric Hobsbawm

        Eric Hobsbawm, a self confessed unrepentant communist , was professor emeritus of economic and social history of the University of London at Birkbeck He wrote many acclaimed historical works, including a trilogy on the nineteenth century The Age of Revolution, The Age of Capital, and The Age of Empire, and was the author of The Age of Extremes The Short 20th Century 1914 1991 and his recent autobiography, Interesting Times A Twentieth Century Life.


    928 Comments

    1. Right now is obviously a great time to arm oneself intellectually.Given what a staid, intellectual figure Hobsbawm was, the title of this book and its cover illustration may seem like an absurd gimmick by the publisher. No,this most definitely is not a peppy manual for activists. At the same time it's also true that Hobsbawm once served as Che Guevara's interpreter. His immense scholarly and intellectual achievements were always wedded to a deep concern for emancipatory politics. Those of us on [...]


    2. Brilliant book, but really, Hobsbawm's publishers have badly let him down with that title which completely misrepresents what this book is about. Perhaps it says more about me that I don't see the need for a lame attempt to sex this book up with a title like that. But it has to be said that this is no book of vacuous polemic: Hobsbawm is clearly deeply committed to the insights of Marx and Marxism but this book is first and foremost a history of those ideas, from the contexts and earliest recept [...]


    3. Marx is back. Even finance capitalists like George Soros are re-reading him with attention, and — more tentatively, after the terrible experience of Stalinism — leftists are rediscovering him. Hobsbawm notes two main reasons: 1st, the collapse of the Soviet Union "liberated Marx from public identification with Leninism in theory and with Leninist regimes in practice," and 2d, "the globalised capitalist world that emerged in the 1990s was in crucial ways uncannily like the world anticipated b [...]


    4. Instructions for reading this somewhat heavy going tome for the Marxian beginner:1. Accept that you are unlikely to understand everything in this book, or indeed be interested by everything in this book. Tell yourself that if you catch a glimpse of light flashing from one or three of its many facets you will be doing well, but comprehension of the entire shape is the preserve of the expert.2. Conjour up a mental image of Hobsbawm (Google images for inspiration, or simply imagine your grandad's o [...]


    5. Reading this felt as ponderous as writing the last two Game of Thrones books must have felt for George R.R. Martin. Which is not to say it was bad. It’s just that written in the author’s 94th year, and addressing his life’s principal passion, the writings and legacy of Mr. K.M. himself.So in the first part, he lays out the 70 odd years of thoughts he’s had as to what Marx actually wrote and what it actually meant, and what’s been overlooked by scholars from the lesser known or untransl [...]


    6. I felt some slight trepidation approaching this book, as I haven't studied history since I was 17 and know relatively little about Marxism. I did try and read 'Capital' last summer, but ignominiously failed at the third preface. I've read the Communist Manifesto, though, years ago. In any event, I learned a great deal from this book and, as with all the best non-fiction, it made me realise how much else I don't know.'How to Change the World' is a collection of Hobsbawm's writing on Marx and Marx [...]


    7. It's one of the most readable and informative books on Marx and Marxism *if* you don't expect to learn how to change the world or read about Che Guevara. I guess a common discrepancy between the content and the publisher's marketing department is the reason for the title and cover. The actual book is a combination of at times heavy exegesis of Marx and Engels' original work and the reception history of Marx and later thinkers. Although the book is actually a collection of earlier articles, they [...]


    8. Eric Hobsbawm was a self-proclaimed "unabashed Communist" to the end; in response to a question asking why he had not left the party--when other leftist intellectuals, his friend EP Thompson included, left -- he answered that the dream of the October Revolution still burned bright in his heart. He was also, in my estimation, the most brilliant historian working in the second half of the 20th century. In this brilliant work he turns his sharp analytic eye to the thinker and theory that he held so [...]


    9. Not enough about Marxism and too much history and "who's-who-ing". Its not that I don't like history or these specific time periods and I have a massive fascination with with communist/socialist view, but I just got sick of all the 'he published this that and the other' and the collating people together bit.


    10. It is really a collection of essays written over a number of years. Some of them are more interesting than others but there is plenty of food for thought in the book as a whole.


    11. I've rated this book '3' - nice and snug in the middle, and that's exactly how I felt about it. On the one hand, Hobsbawm really does know what he's writing about, and even though it's a potpourri of earlier essays and articles it's an excellent introduction into the wonderful world of Karl Marx. Rather, it's like an old, well-read uncle telling you about how much of a great thinker Karl Marx really was. And you believe him, because Marxism is indeed a wonderful analytical tool to understand the [...]


    12. This is what is purports to be: A history of Marxist hermeneutics and reception. There is much to gain from reading Hobsbawm's historical analysis--although he could have gone further--particularly, if he knows so much, why does he not offer an idea of his own about where to go with Marx in the 21st century? The last paragraphs are apt, but also leave too much left unsaid. "Once again it is manifest that the economic system's operations must be analysed both historicallyd realistically, ie: not [...]


    13. I was a bit disappointed that this book at times reads like the collection of essays and book introductions it largely is, and the whole appeared to be a bit less than the sum of its parts. At several points the recent economic crisis was mentioned as a reason to look back to Marx's thoughts and writings, but the next bit discussing what Marx can tell us about this, or where the left can go next wasn't greatly explored. A fascinating review of various interpretations and thoughts on Marxism over [...]


    14. If you thought it was a book on "how to change the world" and on "tales of Marx and Marxism", then you are in for a huge disappointment. The book was basically a historical sketch of Marxism, without any debate on the actual content of Marxism as an idea or an ideology. Might be a great book for those who fully comprehended Marxism and looking to supplement their knowledge of it by how it developed historically till this modern day. Though if you are still to grapple with the whole concept The b [...]


    15. figured i should read some hobsbawm. this was pretty academic for me, most of it written for marx scholars but there were some good chapters that focused on pre-marx and engels socialism and its influences. maybe something to revisit 50 years later when i am smart.


    16. Some parts of this were interesting and heaps of parts were relevant to my History project, however it was SO dull!!! The guy expects you to know so many big terms and there was so much analysis my brain hurt. The good thing was that it all flowed even though sometimes he went off on a tangent.



    17. In a sense it is fitting the Hobsbawm’s penultimate book should be a collection that explores both the founders and legacies of Marxism; he was, after all, the last of the generation of scholars who shook up the world of British history with their Marx-inspired scholarship during the 1950s and 1960s (and I think the last surviving member of the Communist Party Historians’ Group). It was this group of historians – along with Hobsbawm, Rodney Hilton, E P Thompson, Dorothy Thompson, Christoph [...]


    18. When this book appeared on my page, perhaps from the Recommendations, I logged in to my amazon account and ordered it online. By the end of March, it’s on the shelf of my bookcase, where it remained untouched for about two months. I often gave it a glimpse when loitering near the bookcase; I acknowledge that it’s not without some struggle for me to finally pick it up.I was born one year before the ending of the Cultural Revolution; in the year 1989 I was in a secondary school in north China [...]


    19. I started reading this book because I have always admired Marx's tremendous capability to focus and work hard. He is certaily a phenomenon on how to create a body of work that can truly change the world. This book is a thorough analysis on how the works of Marks, Engels and others contributed to the new vision of the world that became the one that some of the members of our society benefited from, while others became its victims.This is the book I read:It feels like a contradictions since Marx's [...]


    20. I started reading this book because I have always admired Marx's tremendous capability to focus and work hard. He is certaily a phenomenon on how to create a body of work that can truly change the world. This book is a thorough analysis on how the works of Marks, Engels and others contributed to the new vision of the world that became the one that some of the members of our society benefited from, while others became its victims.This is the book I read:It feels like a contradictions since Marx's [...]


    21. The sweep of Hobsbawm's vision and practice of historical materialism is breathtaking. The cyclical ups and downs in the fortunes of Marx's popularity in the intellectual circles is one constant theme of the book which is firmly located in the larger socio-political-economic context, the position and tactics of Marxist- social democratic parties and corresponding changes in the nature and organic composition of capitalism as well as the working class. The practice is 'historical materialist' in [...]


    22. Bit of an opportunistic failure, a clumsy welding of various Marxism related articles, forewords, introductions, etc to take advantage of the resurgence of Marx post-economic crisis. Structure shows through horribly with some mind-numbing tracing of bibliographic works and head-spinning accounts of the number of leftist movements. However some real quality – nice work placing Marx and Engels in the context of early leftism with the major message being their consistency of the idea of the worki [...]


    23. Eccezionale la parte dedicata a Gramsci (nonché all' "anomalia italiana"), che da sola vale l'acquisto del libro. E altrettanto utile mi è parsa la trattazione delle formazioni precapitalistiche: una questione alquanto complessa che Hobsbawm riesce a chiarire senza mai banalizzarla, anzi infondendole la vivacità e il senso che decenni di vulgata marxista le avevano tolto. Tuttavia mi aspettavo di più da un autore di questa caratura: più storia delle idee e meno storia della ricezione; pagin [...]


    24. One of the most insightful and revealing critiques of Marx and Marxism of the past few years. Britain's pre-eminent Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawm, traces the work of Marx and Engels right back to the earliest influences on socialism, through to the publication of 'The Communist Manifesto', the October Revolution, the decline of Marxism in the 1970's, right up to the Great Crash of 2008. The chapters on Antonio Gramsci, and Marxism in the 20th Century, particularly the noble role played by Mar [...]


    25. This is not an easy book to read. I hated this book for the first 8 chapters. However, it revealed itself to be a truly complete evaluation of Marxism and the movements of his time. It also revisits times in history where Marxism resurfaced, whether by the same name or a different one. I was assigned to read this text for a college course (One of the hardest History courses I have ever taken) and I would 10/10 take that course again. This is a book worth reading multiple times. Eric Hobsbawm wri [...]


    26. Okay, so I didn't actually finish this book. I was halfway through when my bag got stolen in the train last weekend. What I did manage to get through I had mixed feeling about. A lot of it I should have just scanned; Hobsbawm covers a lot of ground, both historically and theoretically, and I didn't find all of it relevantbut when he gets at the good stuff, man does he ever. And I was in the middle of just such a good bit whenSomeday I will have to read the second half.


    27. Those interested or grappling with the constant changes and social narrative for a more inclusive and equal world. This is a refreshing read combining analysis of theory and praxis of the marxian philosophy.


    28. Insider baseball about who Marx's intellectual heirs were and vice versa, with relatively little exploration of Marx's actual thought. I skimmed the majority of it during a flight and left it behind at the airport terminal.


    29. A slow read, but strangely pleasant, never dull. "How to change the world" is a dumb title for this very erudite but readable book. I enjoyed it.


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