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Marx for Beginners Paperback – July 15, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon (July 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714610
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A superb little book in a most improbable format....I recommend it unreservedly for anyone who wants the rudiments of Marx from an engaging mentor....Rius on Marx is magnificent. He shows that pictures can amplify ideas, and that simplicity need not forgo subtlety."

New York Times Book Review

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this book immensely and I'm still reading it.
Luis Paredes, Jr.
On that point, an update might well include Charles Darwin's profound influence on Marx, who is another great intellectual who is absent from Rius' work.
This is must reading for those curious to go beyond the front page headlines of US newspapers.
A Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first ran into this series of books in the early '80s and loved them. For years, I recommended these books to my friends as a jumping off place on any number of subjects, but have been completely unable to find them. Many thanks to Amazon.com for carrying them now. I only hope that they become featured and easy for users to find.
Addressing the one negative review that I saw online, I have to shake my head. Yes, if you want to know anything in depth on a subject, you must certainly go to the source. These books would never pretend to be a master's course in any of the subjects that they present (Freud, Marx, Lacan, Quantum Physics, You Name It). What they do, and do extremely well, is make the learning curve a lot less steep. They give a shape to the overall thought that they are describing. And they make it fun. Hard to imagine that anyone who wants to learn something (or who wants other people to learn something) could do anything other than cheer this excellent series.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Luis Paredes, Jr. on June 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
Eduardo Del Rio's "Marx for Beginners" is an indispensable guide to the writings of Karl Marx. It's informative, easy to read and a lot of fun. Don't let the title or the cartoons inside fool you, this is a serious book that succeeds in introducing the reader to the works of Karl Marx. If your familiar with "Charles," as Rius (the author's pen name) affectionately calls him, then this book will serve as a reference and refresher; if you know nothing of Marx and want to learn more, then "Marx for Beginners" is the place to start. The book gives you a concise biography of Marx, a run down of his influences, his philosophy and doctrines. There's also some nice background on Marx's time period and a brief intro to ancient philosophy, as it applies to Marx. Included is a little dictionary of Marxist terms that serves as a great reference. Marxism isn't an easy subject to tackle and it's certainly not something you can digest in a few days, but this book puts Marx's work into a clear framework and has helped me understand it more clearly. I enjoyed this book immensely and I'm still reading it. If you're in a state of moratorium with your political, social, economic, and/or spiritual beliefs, please read this book...it's bound to have some kind of influence on you! Believe me, this book has moved me to learn more about Marx and his work.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By BPG on May 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Since the collapse of the USSR, many people have thrown Marx into the recycle bin. Actually, even in the heyday of the USSR (be there such?) very little truth was known about Marx, the version that filtered down to us Westerners clouded in Cold War paranois.

Marx was first and foremost a philosopher. Indeed, he was the single philospher who had the biggest real-world influence on society after his death. Criticising previous philosophers that limited themselves to interperating History, Marx claimed that the real philosopher's priority was to "change history".

Sure, he got a lot wrong. Every philosopher's philosophy has two aspects though - a diagnosis of society and the human condition, and a recommended remedy. We all know that Marx's remedy went horribly wrong. Or, at least, the remedies of the Lenins, Maos and Stalins that followed.

But stop and look at his diagnosis. Whilst countless philosophers have buried themselves in metaphysical conundrums, Marx was the first that predicted the power of money relations in the modern world. One need only look at the global situation today, divided sharply between the "haves" and "have-nots" to realise that Marx's view bordered on prophetic. And for as long as "the rich get rich, and the poor get poor", the division is only going to deepen. Maybe communism wasn't the remedy, but neither, does it seem, is capitalism.

I have always loved the Beginners series, and MARX FOR BEGINNERS is one of the best. Critics of this "sound bite" format, are correct - you cannot distill the man's philosophies into a 100 page comic book. But for busy people without the time and inclination to wade through the real McCoy, this quirky cartoon documentary is very enlightening and can only leave the reader better off.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
A lot of people probably think they know what Marxism is all about, but in reality only a precious few have any intimate acquaintance with the man's writings and ideas. Only the hardiest of souls can pour through the voluminous pages that constitute Marx's significant body of work, writings that are as dense and complex as just about anything you would ever hope to find. No single book can communicate the depth and breadth of Marxism, but a single book, namely Marx For Beginners by Rius, can and does offer readers an interesting, comprehensible introduction to the basic principles and themes of one of the world's greatest thinkers. I might point out the fact that I personally detest Marx with a passion; the man indirectly caused more trouble than any other individual in history. It is important to know one's enemies well, though, and that is why I have studied Marx to a limited extent.
This book was actually one of several required readings in a college course I took on the history of socialism. I had to laugh when I first saw the actual book as it looks like a book of cartoons. Don't let the seeming simplicity of the book fool you, though. Rius uses cartoons and tiny bits of comedy in order to make one's introduction to the subject as interesting as possible, and he covers the basics quite well indeed: Marx's philosophy, his economic doctrine, and his concept of historical materialism. This is an increasingly complex triumvirate of concepts. Actual quotations from Marx himself often drop in front of you like a ton of bricks, but Rius uses this building material to construct a humble edifice of understanding and instruction.
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