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Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality [Anglais] [Broché]

E. J. Hobsbawm

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26 mars 2012 Canto Classics
Nations and Nationalism since 1780 is Eric Hobsbawm's widely acclaimed and highly readable enquiry into the question of nationalism. Events in the late twentieth century in Eastern Europe and the Soviet republics have since reinforced the central importance of nationalism in the history of the political evolution and upheaval. This second edition has been updated in light of those events, with a final chapter addressing the impact of the dramatic changes that have taken place. Also included are additional maps to illustrate nationalities, languages and political divisions across Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Revue de presse

'… succinct and masterly.' Roy Porter, New Statesman

'… never fails, great historian that he is, to supply the essential absorbing material.' Michael Foot, The Guardian

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Amazon.com: 3.6 étoiles sur 5  19 commentaires
31 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Nationalism as progams and policies 8 mars 2000
Par J. Pool - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Hobsbawm is a masterful historian, with the chops and interests to take on a variety of important topics. This book is his contribution to the Birth-of-Nationalism literature. Nationalism is often associated with questions of personal commitments or identity politics. This aspect of consciousness, however, is easy to assume, but more difficult to demonstrate, and even harder to historicize. As a result Hobsbawm begs off this question some, and turns his attention instead to the ways that governments (states in search of nations) and national elites (nations in search of states) have invoked or pursued the concept of nation. This work is particularly useful and importnat for its attention to language and education as technologies of nation building. Those who confuse a critical perspective with bias, or cannot overcome their own Marxiphobia, may want to stick to tamer works. For the rest of us, Hobsbawm has provided a readable and compelling exploration. While it has its limits, this is a valuable and important work.
25 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hobsbawm At His Best - Once Again! 4 décembre 1998
Par D. Becker (d.becker@gmx.net) - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Hobsbawm's 'Nations and Nationalism' reveals once again the author's genius. Splendidly written, it is, first of all, a pleasure to read. With a wide range of examples, the British historian shows a truly cosmopolitan view of a rather narrow-minded phenomenon. Much more importantly, however, he unveils one of the great myths of populist rhetoric: that nations have always existed. Not only are they fairly recent developments, argues Hobsbawm, but their conceptions have changed significantly over the last 200 years or so. From time to time, the author may be a little bit too idealistic in his judgments. But over all, 'Nations and Nationalism Since 1780' is an extremely valuable book. Read it as an introduction, or read it as polemic: both ways, you will most probably enjoy it!
34 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Suberb, arguably Hobsbawm's best single book. 27 avril 2001
Par pnotley@hotmail.com - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
"...no serious historian of nations and nationalism can be a committed political nationalist...Nationalism required too much belief in what is patently not so. As Renan said: `Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation.' This bold and principled comment, which is duly qualified in the ellipsis I left out, is near the beginning of one of the most liberating books on modern nationalism. This is a vital book which puts nationalism into its historical context, and it reminds us of the vital truth that Yugoslavia and Rwanda were not doomed by something called "irreconcilable ethnic strife," to fall into the hell that the First World has done its part to condemn them to.
"The basic characteristic of the nation and everything with it is its modernity." Even the very vocabulary of nationality is relatively new. Especially invaluable is Hobsbawm's chapter on popular proto-nationalism as he discusses all the elements that supposedly "cause" nationalism and finds them all insufficient. Many Central and Eastern European peasants did not view themselves so much as members of particular nationalities but as peasants. The term "Estonian" for instance only came into use in the 1860s. Languages appear stronger, yet dialects were so common up until the late nineteenth century that only half of the French in 1789 spoke the language, while only 2.5% of pre-unification Italy spoke what is now Italian. Nationalists often had to write their own grammars and dictionaries, and in the process the various Yugoslav groups turned three major dialects into the language we now know as Serbo-Croat. And where "there are no other languages within earshot, one's own idiom is not so much a group criterion as something that all people have, like legs." Ethnicity is not an undisputed concept: some of the most clearly defined ethnic groups are those like the Scots highlanders, or the Berbers or Afghan Pushtus who are hostile to any state. Many of the greatest fighters for Greek independence were Albanians, while Hungary's greatest 19th century poet, Petofi, was in fact a Slovak. Religion has its own ironies: many of the leaders of the Arab independence movement were Copts, Maronites and other Christians. Religions try to be universal so often they will separate Lithuanians from Russians, but not from Poles. The Catholic Church was the only all-Italian institution in 1859, but Italian nationalism had to make its way without it. Many pre-modern revolts against foreign invaders are less nationalistic than social and religious. When the citizens of Berlin offered to defend that city, Frederick the Great told them to mind their own business and let professionals handle the job.
Hobsbawm goes on to discuss how the modern state in the nineteenth century had its own reasons to encourage patriotism and national consciousness. He discusses how nationalist movements in Georgia, Armenia and Finland were dominated by socialists. "What would the future of Hebrew have been, had not the British mandate in 1919 accepted it as one of the three official languages of Palestine, at a time when the number of people speaking Hebrew as an everyday language was less than 20,000?" After discussing the rise of fascism, the Popular Front and the end of the Cold war, Hobsbawm ends memorably with this image: "The owl of Minerva which brings wisdom, said Hegel, flies out at dusk. It is a good sign that it is now circling round nations and nationalism."
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Hobsbawm places nationalism in its historical context 10 août 2005
Par Jim Ward - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
We ordered this book as a reading for our 'Old Curmudgeons Book Club'. The book club is made up of a small bunch of 'older guys', i.e. in their 50s and 60s. We get together once a month and disucss non-fiction books. We've been doing this for about 15 years now. The book has to have something important to say about the human condition. Since nations and nationalism play such an important role in the 20th and 21st centuries, we thought it important to get a better handle on this. Hobsbawm's book helps us to understand the incredibly short time that nations and nationalisms have played a big role in the human experience. It is essentially a 19th century invention and yet it has become such a part of our thinking - e.g. the notion of the inviolability of national sovereignty, the whole business of being an 'American', Briton, Australian, etc. which is such an important part of self identity. One piece of information I found to be astonishing is the statement that at the time of the founding of modern 'Italy',in the mid 19th century, only 2.5% of the population in the territory now known as Italy spoke Italian. Hobsbawm's book then, helps to put into perspective the whole notion of nation and nationalism and helps us to be a bit more critical and more sceptical (suspicious perhaps) when political leaders appeal in language such as 'My fellow Americans', or 'Canadians believe that...', etc. Oh yeah? (What's America? What's Canada, etc.? It helps us to recall Samuel Johnson's famous and useful phrase 'Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel'. Of course, we can get into debates about the difference between 'nationalism' and 'patriotism' but, for my money, they're pretty much the same thing and both are based on unexamined assumptions. Hobsbawm's book will get you thinking about these issues.

Jim Ward
32 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not a good introduction to the study of nationalism 5 mai 2000
Par Edward Bosnar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Hobsbawm's contribution to the study of nationalism is, I believe, overrated, simply because it has become something of a starting point for people who want to familiarize themselves with this complex subject. Not to criticize Hobsbawm excessively; I think he's one of the finest living historians who writes in the English language, and his four "Age of..." books are among the finest historiographical works on the last two centuries. But in this book his anti-nationalist bias shows, and the work suffers for it, especially the conclusion. Hobsbawm has an explicitly critical stance on nationalism, and his entire argument in this book seems to be aimed at showing that as a historical phenomena nationalism is on its way out. While I share, to some extent, Hobsbawm's distaste for nationalism, I can't agree with this conclusion--and the events of the last decade definitely contradict this view. Whatever one may think of nationalism, it is a very important political and social phenomenon, and it deserves more serious and careful consideration than it gets in this book. Even so, I give it a three-star rating, because like all of Hobsbawm's books, it is very well written and engaging, and he provides some interesting insights into the ways nationalism became a political force during the late 19th century.
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