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Revolution in the head: how Eric Hobsbawm became a communist national treasure

He ended his life a British national treasure but Eric Hobsbawm never lost faith in his youthful communism

By John Bew   March 2019

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As a bookish grammar school boy in north-west London in the mid-1930s, described by his cousin as “ugly as sin but a mind,” Eric Hobsbawm fantasised in his diary about bringing about a communist revolution in Britain. Based on his reading of Russian and Irish history, he thought the best chance would be for dedicated revolutionaries to orchestrate a coup, preferably following a general strike. There was a reasonable prospect, he calculated, that part…

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