John Gray

Evasion Tactics

Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the 20th Century

By

Little, Brown 336pp £25 order from our bookshop

Speaking with the Italian journalist Antonio Polito in an extended interview published as The New Century (2000), Eric Hobsbawm explained why he confined his work as a historian primarily to the 19th century. Writing 20th-century history would have required him to deal with the Soviet Union, which he was not inclined to do:

It is clear that scholars who were critical of communism have less hesitation in studying phenomena like the gulags, while a communist historian would certainly prefer to avoid it … I have tended to avoid dealing with it directly, because I knew that if I had, I would have had to have written things that would have been difficult for a communist to say without affecting my political activity and the feelings of my comrades. This is why I chose to become a nineteenth-century historian rather than a twentieth-century one.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,