How to play: Share a photo/screenshot of the cover(s) of the book(s) you’re currently reading. Then tag 8 people and ask them to do the same!
In a belated attempt to be the person teen!me wanted to become, I’m reading Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of Revolution. For those who don’t know him, Hobsbawm’s been widely recognized as the greatest historian of the 20th century and generally an awesome, incredibly smart person. When I had to read one of his books for uni, I discovered he was also a fine writer - I mean, these are very scholarly things, so you’d expect them to be factual at best and blood-cryingly boring at worst, but this guy is just something else. Reading his explanation of what happened in the 20th century and why (The Age of Extremes) sort of changed my life? and I promised myself that one day I’d go back to his other books, because my knowledge of those periods (think Industrial revolution and beyond) is limited at best.
And, boy, so far this thing is not disappointing me. I should live-blog it, really, because it’s amazing how much we don’t know and how important those things are to understand who we are. Would highly recommend.
Words are witnesses which often speak louder than documents. Let us consider a few English words which were invented, or gained their modern meanings, substantially in the period of sixty years with which this volume deals. They are such words as industry, industrialist, factory, middle class, working class, capitalism and socialism. They include aristocracy as well as railway, liberal and conservative as political terms, nationality, scientist and engineer, proletariat and (economic) crisis. Utilitarian and statistics, sociology and several other names of modern sciences, journalism and ideology, are all coinages or adaptations of this period. So is strike and pauperism. To imagine the modern world without these words (i.e., without the things and concepts for which they provide names) is to measure the profundity of the revolution which broke out between 1789 and 1848, and forms the greatest transformation in human history since the remote times when men invented agriculture and metallurgy, writing, the city and the state.