Monday, January 20, 2014

Factoid of the day

In the 1970s "the number of the world's universities more than doubled."

-- E. Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes (1994), p.297

4 comments:

thusbloggedanderson said...

I don't mean to disparage that particular claim, but one reason I've had a hard time making myself read that book is the sloppiness with facts.

Page 22: "14 August 1945--four days after the explosion of the first nuclear bomb"

Page 25: Somme "cost Britain 420,000 dead--60,000 on the first day of the attack"

Page 26: "the American forces in 1917-18 were in action for barely a year-and-a-half"

Page 29: after Brest-Litovsk, "German army [was] now free to concentrate in the West" (maybe "free" to but in fact left a million men (2d-rate troops, but still) in the east by March 1918.

LFC said...

Anderson,
You're right, the chapter that covers the two world wars is sloppy with facts -- probably the weakest chapter of the book (I've read much/most of the bk, not all).

I think it gets better and the facts get less sloppy. Though I really don't know if the claim I put up in the post is right, and H. doesn't source a lot of stuff, takes a spare-ish approach to citation. So maybe it shd have an asterisk ;).

thusbloggedanderson said...

Well, that is reassuring. I can well believe that H. thought military history, and its attendant facts, reactionary & beneath contempt. Pretty hard to avoid in the 20th c. however.

I think what those errors *really* show is that no one edited the book, in any meaningful sense.

LFC said...

"I think what those errors *really* show is that no one edited the book, in any meaningful sense."

Yes.