Labour leader pays tribute to Eric Hobsbawm, Marxist who ‘took history out of ivory tower’

Historian Eric Hobsbawm
Historian Eric Hobsbawm
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LABOUR leader Ed Miliband has paid tribute to the eminent historian Eric Hobsbawm, who has died at the age of 95.

Mr Miliband described Mr Hobsbawm, one of the leading intellectuals of the 20th century, as an “extraordinary” historian, who had brought history “out of the ivory tower” and into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

“Eric Hobsbawm was an extraordinary historian, a man passionate about his politics and a great friend of my family,” he said in a statement.

“His historical works brought hundreds of years of British history to hundreds of thousands of people. He brought history out of the ivory tower and into people’s lives.

“But he was not simply an 
academic, he cared deeply about the political direction of the country.”

Mr Miliband said the historian was one of the first people to recognise the challenges to 
Labour in the late 1970s and 1980s from the changing nature of our society.

The tribute from Mr Miliband came after Mr Hobsbawm’s daughter Julia confirmed that her father, who had pneumonia, died yesterday morning at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Mr Hobsbawm, a prolific writer and a historian in the Marxist tradition, was famous for examining the economic and social forces underpinning history.

His book, The Age of Extremes, the short 20th century, 1914 to 1991, published in 1994, was translated into 40 languages and received many international prizes.