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Famous British historian Hobsbawm dies aged 95

LONDON--Eric Hobsbawm, a lifelong socialist and one of Britain's most eminent historians, has died at the age of 95, his daughter said Monday.

Julia Hobsbawm said her father died overnight at a London hospital. He had been suffering from pneumonia.

“He'd been quietly fighting leukemia for a number of years without fuss or fanfare,” Julia Hobsbawm said. “Right up until the end he was keeping up what he did best, he was keeping up with current affairs, there was a stack of newspapers by his bed.”

Hobsbawm was one of Britain's most distinguished historians, his works on the 20th century read by generations of students, despite an allegiance to the Communist Party that he retained long after many supporters left in shame and disgust.

Hobsbawm's reading of Karl Marx and his experience living in Germany in the 1930s formed his views. He joined the Communist Party in England in 1936 and stayed a member long after Soviet military force crushed the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and the liberal reforms of the Prague Spring in 1968, although he publicly opposed both interventions.

Hobsbawm is best known for three volumes, spanning the period from 1789 to 1914: “The Age of Revolution” (1962), “The Age of Capital” (1975) and “The Age of Empire” (1987). A later volume, “Age of Extremes,” took the story forward from 1914 to 1991.

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