There are many reasons why Eric Hobsbawm has become arguably the most respected historian in the world, recognised if not endorsed on the political right as well as on the left, and one of the few historians of any era to enjoy genuine national and world renown. He was unrivalled both in his knowledge of historic detail and in his extraordinary powers of synthesis, and endowed with an uncommon facility of expression, a lively style and an ability to synthesize complex events, that made his works known in wide circles of non-specialists. At the same time, his widening fame as a historian was accompanied by a growing reputation as a sharp commentator of his times. Till the end he has been remained loyal to a critical but uncompromising interpretation of Marxism, which he used to read the developments of the current economic crisis. One of the first to have discovered Gramsci outside Italy, from the 1970s onward Hobsbawm, who never refused his imprint as an antifascist turned into a Communist, claimed to have become a "spiritual member" of the Italian Communist Party. His influence on the renewal of historical studies in Italy has been remarkable, and left an important mark also in «Passato e presente».
Keywords: Eric Hobsbawm, marxism, Gramsci, historiography