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The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0717800568 ISBN-10: 0717800563

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 161 pages
  • Publisher: Intl Pub (June 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0717800563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0717800568
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on March 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
There is an abundance of information as well as keen insights into the actual practice of governance and gaining and holding political power in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. The edition I have is only sixty-nine pages, but it is quite complex and requires close reading and re-reading. Marx's pamphlet is especially difficult for those of us who lack a specialized scholar's knowledge of Nineteenth Century French history, and I imagine that includes most readers.

In addition, Marx was never one to write for the ease of his audience. In the Eighteenth Brumaire he seems even more inclined than usual to use irony, paradox, word play, obscure figures of speech, and time-dependent witticisms. He also proceeds from the assumption that readers have at least a passing familiarity with his theoretical perspective. I read the Eighteenth Brumaire twice before I felt ready to write a review. I was left wondering how Marx's influence would have been enhanced if he had truly written for the people.

Nevertheless, I was struck by the parallels and contrasts, not fully developed but suggestive, that Marx saw between Mid-Nineteenth Century America (presumably excluding the slave states) and French society of the same time. Both were fractionated into classes and class fragments, much as one wold expect of developing capitalist societies, but America still had plenty of room geographically, socially, and economically within which citizens could move in search of improved prospects. Perhaps this is one reason why those in power in France readily transported those they wanted to get rid of to California to dig for gold.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Lewis VINE VOICE on January 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Karl Marx, the self-proclaimed revolutionary socialist, almost never wrote about socialism. Instead, virtually everything he wrote and theorized about concerned the society of modern capitalism and how it worked on various levels: economic, political, social, cultural and ideological. There may be no better example of this basic reality about Marx's Marxism than this little book, originally published as a series of newspaper articles about the circumstances behind the French coup d'etat of December 1851 that overthrow a democratic republic and ushered in a the authoritarian regime of Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (nephew of his more famous name-sake).

This book should be read for its literary qualities along. The wit, style and humor is unmatched. It also serves as a primer on several key Marxian conceptions including social psychology and political ideology in its treatment of how ideology and political illusions function as self-deceptions hiding underlying motivations decades before Freud developed the concepts of the unconscious and repressed meaning; how and why under certain circumstances the ruling classes of modern capitalism opt for authoritarianism over democracy; the complex interplay of individual temperament and broad historical realities that lead most people to think that their opinions, prejudices and politics are unique expressions of themselves outside and independent from the social context in which they were formed; and the problems of a relatively late-developing and uneven form of capitalism that help explain why the 19th century French bourgeoisie had such difficulty consolidating its position as ruling class compared with its British and later, American, counter-parts.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John A. Stege on February 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
Must read, gives the basic tools to understand history. Slow going at times, but buckle down and do it. This is a specific case study of how, if you "follow the money", the driving forces of events become clear and the most absurd happenings make sense.
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23 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Antonio Tiago Santos on April 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many consider this work as Marx's best effort towards political philosophy. While the Communist Manifesto and the Critique os the Gotha Programme are also classics in marxian political thought, this books presents the best and most profound theoretical analysis. Just as the two panphlets above mentioned, this one came up as an "writing of occasion", but more than a pamphlet this is a book, and a classical one. If the Manifesto should be the gateway to marxian political thought, the Brumaire is the book for those who wish to deepen their knowledge on marxian political conceptions. A must for anyone concerned with politics in general.
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