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Age of Extremes:
As the historian Eric Hobsbawm says, "We are now in a position to rethink much of our past history, including that of the 20th century, as well as our past ideas about what to expect of the world's future." With this in mind, Hobsbawm has written a history based on his wide personal experience - he was born in the year of the Russian revolution and was in Berlin when Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The book falls into three main chronological divisions: "The Age of Catastrophe 1914-1950", an era of wars, crises, revolutions, fascism and, in general, cataclysm; "The Great Leap Forward 1950-1973", a period which has seen the most rapid and spectacular transformation in world history; and "The Age of Crisis 1973-1991", a period in which both communism and old certainties collapsed. The book is global in scope, including in its ambit the geopolitical shifts in wealth, power and cultural influences and the rise and fortunes of the non-European North American world. Written from the point of view of someone who believes in reason and science and in the potential improvement of the human situation, this book aims to reshape our view of the 20th century and concludes with the author's speculations and predictions of developments in the 21st century. [via]