Hobsbawm described his method of working in a reply to Bill Palmer, then researching for his book 'Engagement with the Past: The Lives and Works of the World War II Generation of Historians': "I don't usually keep anything except the final text of the MSS, and even that only until the work is printed. ... When I wrote on a typewriter, as I have done since undergraduate days, I used to start pages, half-write them, tear them out - the usual thing. On a PC editing, patching and redrafting is, of course, much easier, but leaves fewer traces." [letter included in 937/7/8/1].