British historian Hobsbawm is most noted for his three-volume history of the "long 19th century" (1789-1914). Here he turns his attention to what he terms the "short 20th century" ( 1914-1991), which roughly coincides with his own life. It also corresponds to the lifespan of Soviet Communism, which naturally receives a major share of attention in this account. But Hobsbawm covers ideas more than events in this book, which is international in scope. In a work addressed to "the non-academic reader with a general interest in the modern world," he assimilates mountains of information from all over the century and tries to arrange it into a cohesive whole. The result is certainly not light reading, but it is a book that most libraries will need.
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