Hobsbawm the Marxist historian dies, aged 95

The late Eric Hobsbawm

The late Eric Hobsbawm

The eminent Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm died of pneumonia in the early hours of Monday morning at the Royal Free Hospital, aged 95.

A writer and long-time member of the Communist Party, with an exceptional breadth of knowledge, he was best known for his work on 18th- and 19th-century Europe, in particular his four-volume Ages of… series, which spanned a history of capitalism from 1789 to 1991.

Mr Hobsbawm, who was born in Alexandria and grew up in Vienna and Berlin, called himself a “non-Jewish Jew”. A committed anti-Zionist, he told the Guardian in 2002: “I am a Jew, but being a Jew does not imply being a supporter either of Zionism and even less of the particular policies now being pursued by the government of Israel, which are disastrous and evil.”

Still writing into his old age, he published his final book, How to Change the World, in 2011. He is survived by his second wife Marlene Schwarz, his children Eric, Julia and Andrew, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His daughter Julia Hobsbawm ran a PR company with Sarah Brown, wife of the Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and is now a business and communications consultant, who founded the company Editorial Intelligence.

Last updated: 6:11pm, October 4 2012