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Eric Hobsbawm's was born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1917 to Leopold and Nelly Hobsbaum. In 1936 Hobsbawm enrolled at King's College, Cambridge to study history and joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. Hobsbawm's reputation was such that in 2002 he became President of Birkbeck at the age of 85. He was also a fellow of the British Academy. In The Age of Revolution, Hobsbawm argues that between 1789 and 1848 two revolutions together changed the course of European history. He claims that the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the French Revolution that began in 1789 created the economic, political and social conditions that allowed capitalism and political liberalism to spread out from northwest Europe and transform the wider world. He saw the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century as not only the birthplace of capitalism, with its basis in profit and private enterprise, but also of its political opponent, socialism, which looked to create a more just and equal society.