Social Scientist. v 2, no. 23 (June 1974) p. 71.


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BOOK REVIEW

Review Article

The Horld of Social Bandits

EJ Hobsbawm, BANDITS, Penguin Books, pp 156, Price 40 p.

\ THE famous British conservative historian AjpP Taylor said, ^Things happen because they happen." For historians like him history is but a jumble of facts, without a coherent meaning or any connecting link. Discussing such 'Tory5 empiricists whose negative approaches took away all purpose from the study of history Professor Arthur Marwick wrote,

Marxism offered one possible means towards meaning in history* Actually the works produced by the handful of leading British Marxist historians are so subtle and penetrating in their historical analysis that it is hard to see that they differ greatly from the style of historical study fostered by th& Annales school, or indeed from that of many other historians concerned with the totality of historical experience. However it would be churlish not to agree that a remarkable lead in the movement away from the main tenets of the Tory empiricists has been given by a group of English historians who are happy to style themselves Marxists.!

Such a generous recognition of the role of Marxists in reviving scientific historiography in Britain from non-Marxist quarters will not surprise any one acquainted with the works of Eric J Hobsbawm, Christopher Hill, A L Morton, E P Thompson and others. The paper back edition of Hob^bawm's Bandits affords a wider range of readers the opportunity to taste this new writing which has led to a revival of scientific historiography in Britain.

In this book Hobsbawm examines with penetrating insight and painstaking research the recurrent and ubiquitous phenomena of the social Bandits. Chronologically he goe^ back -to the Middle Ages when the legendary and universally popular Robin Hood is supp&sed to have flouri" shed. Geographically he spans the entire face of the Globe, with no continent left out. In these pages along with dozens of striking pictures and



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