Eric John Ernest Hobsbawm (; 9 June 1917 – 1 October 2012) was a Jewish-British historian of the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism and nationalism. He is considered one of the world’s best-known historians. Ideologically a life-long Marxist, his socio-political convictions influenced the character of his work. His best-known works include his trilogy about what he called the “long 19th century” (The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, The Age of Capital: 1848–1875 and The Age of Empire: 1875–1914), The Age of Extremes on the short 20th century, and an edited volume that introduced the influential idea of “invented traditions”.
Hobsbawm was born in Egypt but spent his childhood mostly in Vienna and Berlin. Following the death of his parents and the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, Hobsbawm moved to London with his adoptive family, then obtained his PhD in history at the University of Cambridge before serving in the Second World War. In 1998 he was appointed to the Order of the Companions of Honour. He was President of Birkbeck, University of London, from 2002 until his death. In 2003 he received the Balzan Prize for European History since 1900 “for his brilliant analysis of the troubled history of 20th century Europe and for his ability to combine in-depth historical research with great literary talent.”