Age of Extremes
The Short Twentieth Century 1914 - 1991

Hobsbawm, Eric
Publisher:  Abacus, London, United Kingdom
Year Published:  1997   First Published:  1994
Pages:  627pp   Price:  $19.95   ISBN:  0-349-10671-1
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX9277

A overview of the history of the years 1914 - 1991.

Abstract:  Hobsbawm gives his personal interpretation of the political events of the twentieth century. He cuts his time line down to include only the years between 1914 and 1991, hence the subtitle 'The Short Twentieth Century'. There is a great deal of focus on the ideologies at play and their influence on the events. The analysis of the past is used in Hobsbawm's conclusion that the future must change course. The Age of Extremes is over, and capitalism cannot survive much longer.

The history is constructed and dissected in a chronological order. There is a division around the end of the old colonial system and beginning of the Cold War Era. Part 1 is called the Age of Catastrophe and Part 2 is The Golden Age. The two sections include revealing photographs of the
events and government propaganda to support Hobsbawm's allegations. Each chapter begins with a few quotations from writers, historians, philosophers and anthropologists.

One purpose of this book is to show that the destruction of society is yet to come. Hobsbawm advocates a restructuring of society to steer away from the tragedies of the twentieth century. In order to change society for the better, capitalism must be overthrown. The book chronicles the history of socialism and urges its revival. "The future cannot be a continuation of the past." Capitalism can easily continue on, according to Hobsbawm, but if it does, it will destroy society.

[Abstract by Mia Manns]

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
The Century: A Bird's Eye View

Part I: The Age of Catastrophe
1. The Age of Total War
2. The World Revolution
3. Into the Economic Abyss
4. The Fall of Liberalism
5. Against the Common Enemy
6. The Arts 1914-45
7. End of Empires

Part II: The Golden Age
8. Cold War
9. The Golden Years
10. The Social Revolution 1945-1990
11. Cultural Revolution
12. The Third World
13. "Real Socialism"

Part III: The Landslide
14. The Crisis Decades
15. Third World and Revolution
16. End of Socialism
17. The Avant-garde Dies - The Arts After 1950
18. Sorcerers and Apprentices - The Natural Sciences
19. Towards the Millennium

Further Reading

Subject Headings

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