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Books > Social sciences > Politics & government > Political ideologies > Marxism & Communism

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Karl Marx (Paperback, New Ed) Loot Price: R261
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Karl Marx (Paperback, New Ed)

Francis Wheen

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List price R319 Loot Price R261 Discovery Miles 2 610 You Save R58 (18%)

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Beatified in the Soviet bloc and vilified in the West throughout the Cold War, Karl Marx has always been the victim of his own notoriety. Wheen has gone some way, however, towards correcting this. Like many geniuses Marx was monstrously egotistical, often careless of the feelings of others and scornful of political rivals. Born the son of a Jewish laywer in Trier he was forced to flee the continent after the publication of the inflammatory communist manifesto in 1848. In London, where much of the rest of his life was spent in the scholarly silence of the British Museum Reading Room, he and his family were often in poverty. Portrayed here by Wheen as a rather Dickensian, middle-class English 'gent' fallen on hard times, Marx was in fact a complex and contradictory man; flamboyant, charming and even at times richly comic, he could also be moody and irascible. He died in 1883, stateless and intestate. An entertaining and balanced biography. (Kirkus UK)

Only a dozen mourners attended Karl Marx's funeral in Highgate cemetery, but within a hundred years of his death half the world's population was ruled by governments that professed Marxism as their guiding faith. Not since Jesus Christ has an obscure pauper achieved such astonishing global influence.

It is easy to forget that Marx was also human. Neither his enemies nor his disciples have been willing to admit as much: in the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin he was beatified, while the West demonised him as the begetter of all evil. In this biography Francis Wheen for the first time presents Marx the man in all his fiery brilliance and frailty: as a Prussian Jew who became a middle-class English gentleman; as an angry agitator who spent much of his adult life in scholarly silence in the British Museum Reading Room; as a gregarious and convivial host who none the less fell out with almost all his friends; as a devoted family man who impregnated his housemaid; as a deeply earnest thinker who loved drink, cigars and jokes; and as a prodigal son to whom his mother said 'I wish you would make some capital instead of just writing about it.'

Karl Marx emerges here as a flamboyantly unmistakable individual, not the stony head of a monolithic, faceless organisation. Indeed, rather like Groucho, Karl could hardly bear to be a member of any club that would accept him: he memorably dismissed a new French party that claimed to be Marxist, replying that, in that case, 'I, at least, am not a Marxist'.

Francis Wheen has written a captivating, at times richly comic biography of the dominant figure of our century, whose life and ideas, charm and irascibility are here revealed in all their glorious complexity and contradiction, the brilliant and provocative philosopher living the Dickensian life of a gent fallen on hard times.

Shortlisted for;
The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction,
The Channel 4 Politico Award
The W.H.Smith Literary Award
The Orwell Prize


Imprint: Fourth Estate
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Release date: August 2000
Authors: Francis Wheen
Dimensions: 196 x 130 x 27mm (L x W x T)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 431
Edition: New Ed
ISBN-13: 978-1-84115-114-4
Barcode: 9781841151144
Categories: Books > Social sciences > Politics & government > Political ideologies > Marxism & Communism
Books > Language & Literature > Biography & autobiography > Historical, political & military
Books > Biography > Historical, political & military
LSN: 1-84115-114-9

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