Eric Hobsbawm is an icon of the British Left: an eminent historian, a prolific author and an unabashed communist, he remains a stalwart critic of capitalism and a controversial voice within academia.
Hobsbawm's introduction to The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels is being published in paperback for the first time by Verso on International Worker's Day, May 1st. In the run-up to the launch, Archive on 4 will profile Hobsbawm in a one-hour episode drawing on his life and work.
A leading member of the Communist Party Historian's Group, Hobsbawm helped shape a Marxist historiography, providing new conceptual tools for historians to approach the history of the worker's movement and revolutionary traditions. His extensive bibliography stretches back over 60 years, including his trilogy on "the long nineteenth century", The Age of Revolution, The Age of Empire and The Age of Capital.
Archive on 4 will feature historic clips and interviews from the BBC archive, introduced by historian Simon Schama, himself influenced by Hobsbawm, as well as an extensive interview with the author covering his early life, his time in the Communist Party and his academic career.
The programme will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 14th April, and will be available on BBC iPlayer shortly afterwards. Visit the Radio 4 website for more information.