Some twenty pieces are included, spanning a broad range of topics. "Outside and Inside History", delivered to students in Budapest in 1993, focuses on nationalism and the place of historians in society. "The Sense of the Past" looks at perception of the past and at "social uses of the past". "Partisanship" considers both the dangers of partisan history and its advantages as a mechanism "for bringing new ideas, new questions, new challenges into the sciences from outside". "What Do Historians Owe to Karl Marx?" and "Marx and History" (and many of the other pieces) describe Hobsbawm's personal debt to Marx and that of the discipline more generally. "Can We Write the History of the Russian Revolution?" considers the use of counterfactuals in history and the problems of achieving any kind of consensus on contested topics. Other pieces include a piece on "grassroots history", a review of Eric Wolf's Europe and the Peoples without History, a two-part survey of the relationship between historians and economists from 1980 that is still interesting, a survey of the development of social history up to 1970, a piece "On the Revival of Narrative", and an Amnesty Lecture "Barbarism: A User's Guide".