Hobsbawm is a British Marxist historian who hated politicians. His work, History from Below, is a result of this dislike of history based around politicians or other well known figures. Hobsbawm main point is that historic literature and how history is studied needs to be about everyday people and their culture and society as a whole. He terms this “grass roots history”. This concept is the reason that Hobsbawm believes biographies are a poor method of telling history. They focus too much on one person, and that person is usually not an average mundane person, but someone of stature or status. It’s these regular people that make the context of an event significant, and unfortunately, according to Hobsbawn, we are not telling their stories, or narrating from the “grass roots” method at all. History from Below is a term for this “grass roots” method of history. My looking at things from the perception of the lower class, we can gain a better and more clear picture of history.

A downside to Hobsbawn’s looking at a larger group method, would be the danger of stereotyping and over generalizing said group. Where as the reality is that every person is individually different and that there may be many sub division’s within a large group, looking at a group of people for context may throw off the accuracy of what one is asserting, especially the larger the group is. Despite this Hobsbawn remains steadfast in his assertion that his proposed method of investigating and narrating history is the best option, and best way to fully understand the history of the subject as a whole.

Published and Online Sources- Bibliography


Published sources

Cook, Andrew. Prince Eddy: The King Britain Never Had. History Press, 2009.

Cornwell, Patricia Daniels. Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper–case Closed. New York: Putnam’s, 2002.

Hindmarch‐Watson, Katie. “Sex, Services, and Surveillance: The Cleveland Street Scandal Revisited.” History Compass 14, no. 6 (2016): 283-91.

Meikle, Dennis. Jack the Ripper: The Murders and the Movies. Reynolds and Hearn, 2002.

Pope-Hennessy, James. “1867-1953.” In Queen Mary. Phoenix Press, 1959.

Online Sources

Alleyne, Richard. “History of Royal Scandals.” The Telegraph. October 28, 2007. Accessed October 4, 2016. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1567612/History-of-royal-scandals.html.

Kaplan, Morris B. “Did “My Lord Gomorrah” Smile?: Homosexuality, Class, and Prostitution in the Cleveland Street Affair.” In Disorder in the Court: Trials and Sexual Conflict at the Turn of the Century, edited by George Robb and Nancy Erber, 78-99. New York: New York University Press, 1999. Accessed October 4, 2016. https://books.google.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/books?id=Ird5oodiBS4C&pg.

McDonald, Deborah. The Prince, His Tutor and the Ripper. Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2007. Accessed October 4, 2016. https://books.google.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/books?id=h7C17807g60C&pg.

Panton, Kenneth J. “Albert Victor, Prince, Duke of Clarence and Avondale.” In Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy, 31-33. Lanham: Scarecross Press, 2011. Accessed October 4, 2016. https://books.google.com.ezproxy.umw.edu/books?id=BiyyueBTpaMC&pg.

“THE PRINCE AND THE CHORUS GIRL.” New Zealand Herald, November 1891, 28th ed., sec. 8724. Accessed October 4, 2016. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18911114.2.73.7.


Soboul’s “The French Revolution in the History of the Contemporary World” and Furet’s “The French Revolution Revisited”

Soboul’s main point in his article was that the most impactful result of the French Revolution was the transferring of power from the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie, not the establishment of equality like many intended it to be; and that this transfer was a turning point in European history, with global implications. He asserts that any “democracy” that resulted wasn’t actually democracy at all, but merely a façade. Soboul’s analysis is very Marxist in style, and he states that the war wasn’t all democracy and politics, but had social and economic implications and results. He also states that the Revolution marked the change of feudalism into capitalism in France.

Furet’s conclusions about the revolution completely contradict Soboul’s. Furet believed that it was the first true example of democracy; and unlike Soboul, that the revolution didn’t act as a turning point for France, but rather a singular event that had no real impactful change. To Furet, the same sequence of events repeated themselves in France again and again with little difference. He dubbed it the “indefinitely prolonged French Revolution.” This view shows him to regard history as non-progressive, the direct opposite of Soboul.  Throughout the article, Furet critiques Soboul’s point of view, mostly without ever naming him. He insinuates that Soboul imposes his opinion on the subject, a view that is the societal result of his time period.

Both of these articles show two very opposite ends of the spectrum in regards to the study of history. It is hard to claim that one is more correct over the other when in reality, history and its changes and events, are much more complex and intricate than can be illustrated by either one of these views. Reality is much more grey than these two black and white views can fully encompass.

Two Types of History Books–Reviews

This review is of a chronicle history book; specifically the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, reviewed by Renee Trilling.


This second review is a review of an encyclopedia book. The World History Encyclopedia is reviewed by D.A Lincove.


Cohen–Homosexuality in Ancient Athens

Cohen’s purpose in this article is to convince the reader that the norms and concepts of homosexuality back in ancient Athens cannot be compared with the concepts and norms of homosexuality in todays society. By studying the laws and literature of this past world, we can view the complexity of sexuality and life during this time, and understand that todays images and standards do not correlate. Cohen’s research discovered that what the laws declared and what literature had recorded actually happening were very different. This discovery is what allows the reader to understand the complexity of the time, and how not everything was as it might have seemed. He strives to protect against the notion of false history and ill-placed assumptions. Assumptions comprised of over compassing statements and leading to deviation from the truth. He concludes that a culture is not analogous, and that one idea or opinion is not held by all people due to its own complexity.