on April 24, 2002
Marx and Engels wrote so much that getting a handle on their ideas can be difficult. Of course, "The Communist Manifesto" is unbeatable as an introductory text. Indeed, it was their classic work. Not to worry, it's in the reader. So start with that, and if you feel the need to delve deeper into the philosophical underpinnings of Marxism (as Marx and Engels actually formulated it), you will have everything you need in this one book. Compact, representative, and with a good translation - it is the perfect book for those of us who would chose to understand these thinkers, without spending a lifetime in the library.
on March 10, 2003
Marx and Engels wrote an absolutely tremendous amount of the most diverse topics of society possible. This reader does a good job of putting together some representative readings, starting from their most famous "The Communist Manifesto", going into his analysis of revolutions and conditions in many different countries, including France, India, Russia, etc., finally reaching into topics such as family and morality (mainly addressed by Engels).
Though not a Marxist myself, I found this compilation a very comprehensive view of their thinking. It should be sufficient to anyone not seeking to write a dissertation on their thinking.
on October 22, 2000
If you're a person that is presently trying to decide where you should start out in your study of Marxism, this book is probably where you "should" start. The Marx-Engels reader has every conceivable work that should be read by any prospective Communist, or anti-Communist. It's all here, the Communist Manifesto, Capital Volume 1, the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, the origin of family, private property and the state, and so on, and so on.
The format of the book has the writings of Marx-Engels in such a way, that a person can see the development of their ideas with, at the very least, some degree of efficiency. From the greed of the borgeoisie and the petty-borgeoisie, to the struggle of proletariat and the lumpen-proletariat. For a proletarian such as myself, this is the next best thing to purchasing Marx's collected works(it took me forever just to afford the extraordinary cost of Lenin's collected works). Currently, the ebb in revolutionary Marxism seems to indicate Marx was completely false in his description of Capitalism as a decadent system, but the fact is, Marxism is still a political force(whether "Cold Warriors" want to admit it or not), with prominent intellectuals such as Stephen Jay Gould and Cornel West being a few indivuals who are proponents of the ideaology. For a person who takes the time to look at the statistics, the middle class is completely vanishing, the disproportionate amount of wealth in the hands of the borgeoisie seems analogous to Lenin's description of 1890's Russia(I am referring to his masterful work, "New Economic Developments in Peasant Life, Volume 1, Collected Works", but in an advanced capitalist society such as the US, replace the word "peasant" with "proletarian"), the majority of the population are exponentially less prosperous than the minority of the population.
To conclude, any educated person, whether they be right-wingers, left-wingers, or extremists, should read this book. With the surprising success of Gennady Zyuganov in Russia, the very large socialist movement in the US, and of course, with the most populous country on Earth being a Communist nation, a rudimentary understanding of Marxism should be "necessary". In addition to the "Marx-Engels" reader, a person should read some of Lenin's more notable works, such as "What is to be Done?", "Who the Friends of the People are, and how they fight the social democrats", and "State and Revolution".
on August 6, 1999
When I was a Political Science major in College, my professor, who knows more about Marxism then Marx himself, said one thing, get this book if you ever see it, regardless of the price. It has gone in and out of print and is a hard one to track down. It covers all of Marx's life and his phases, from the early days of exploring his as-yet undeveloped ideas, to his later exhaustive commentary on the new emerging Capitalist Economy. It doesn't try to tell you what Marx supposedly meant with meaningless, biased commentary; this work is simply a colection of his most important works, no more no less. It also includes much of the work that Engles added after Marx's death. And of course, it contains his Magus Opus, the Communist Manifesto. If you are a Political Science major, a philosphy lover, or just someone wanting an unadulterated sampling of what Marx really thought, then get this book.
Given the impact of Marxism on the unfolding history of the later nineteenth and twentieth century, the beginning student of the combined writings of both Marx and Engels will find this collection of the essential works of these two pioneering socialists absolutely essential reading. Its list of included works covers the waterfront of all that is required to gain a fruitful first look at the wealth of their philosophical musings, and the nature of their revolutionary canon, as well. Reading this material is essential if one is to understand the depth of Marx's understanding and the detail of his genius, however discredited he may be in current estimations. Indeed, with the rise of international corporatism is so close to his prognostications regarding the final phases of capitalism that it is hard to deny his continuing relevance.
Included here is everything from the Communist Manifesto all the way to Volume One of Das Capital. One can gain a better appreciation for his ideas regarding the way in which the antagonism between the oppressed and the oppressors provides the motive force for history, and how all history is the history of such class struggles between the owners of the means of production, on the one hand, and the workers, who have nothing to barter with but their considerable capacity to accomplish labor. If one want to gain a better appreciation for the nuances regarding how alienation is created buy the organization of work, or the origin of property, or even the ways in which all of the aspects of a particualr society's culture are manifestations of the values of the ruling class, then a careful reading of the material found here will serve you well. I highly recommend this book. Enjoy!
on June 6, 2003
"The Marx-Engels Reader" is the best single collection of Marx's thought. What makes it doubly important, is that it is one of the few texts which contain an index. This sounds unremarkable, but believe me, it makes the text extremely more useful. This book transcends the state of being a mere anthology, and is an indespensible reference work.
Make sure you get the second edition.
Whether or not one is a Marxist, knowledge of Marx' work is important in understanding the variety of political philosophizing over the millennia. Marx' political thought is sometimes difficult (think the "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844") and sometimes transparent (e.g., "The Manifesto of the Communist Party," more popularly referred to as the "Communist Manifesto").
This edited work is one of the best introductions to the works of Marx (and Engels). The volume begins with the early Marx, which includes the "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844," excerpts from "The Holy Family" (in which he attacks some of the other socialists of the era), "Theses on Feuerbach," and the first of the truly classic works that Marx and Engels co-authored, "The German Ideology." It is interesting to note that "The German Ideology" covers much the same territory as "The Holy Family," with the major exception that Marx now addresses the intriguing and offbeat work by Max Stirner, "The Ego and His Own." In the process of addressing Stirner, Marx and Engels take the philosophical edifice to a more powerful level, creating a new perspective with a move away from idealism and toward materialism.
Other major works included are excerpts from "Das Kapital" (fairly turgid reading, I fear), the "Manifesto of the Community Party" (which ends with the famous phrase [page 500]) "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains."), the "Critique of the Gotha Program," and "The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" (with its great introductory phrase [page 594] "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.").
The final section of the work features the work of Engels, including "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific," "Anti-Duhring," "The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State."
If one be interested in learning more about Marx (and Engels), this is an accessible edited work that provides some of the key works.
on February 11, 2001
I highly recommend this for anyone, although it should prove especially invaluable to students of many disciplines. Marx's work continues to be a great resource for political economists, literary theorists, men and women all over the world who want to better understand their lives and how to change them. The previous reviewer appears to have never read, or even opened, this book. Not to say everyone will agree with Marx, but it's important to engage with his ideas, to challenge them; instead, the reviewer makes ill-founded judgments based on a poor historical understanding of the socialist states. I highly suggest this book as an introduction to a key figure in the motivating forces of the twentieth century, and in the future.
on November 18, 2007
This book was used in one of the classes I took as an undergraduate. It seems to be a thorough and well chosen collection of the writings of Marx and Engels, with some insightful commentary by the editor, Robert Tucker. I'm not a scholar of the work of these two men, but reading through this again I'm struck with the notion that their ideas are still very much alive and relevant today. Marx is much maligned in the United States, but in many ways he was a humanitarian who wanted to change the world into a better place. And, as he argued, capitalism (including how it is practiced today) is deeply flawed in many ways. Author of Adjust Your Brain: A Practical Theory for Maximizing Mental Health.
If you're looking for a single volume collection of Marx (and a little Engels), this is the one you want. The other reviewers list some of the selections, but the bottom line is: if you've heard of it, it's here. This is the book I keep on my shelf for those (decreasingly common) moments when I want to look up something in Marx.
The only problem lies in the production values - - the pages are thin and light weight, and the font a bit small, in order to cram it all in. If you highlight with a yellow pen, you'll be frustrated because it will bleed through worse than usual. Use a ballpoint pen or a pencil. My eyesight is still good, but if it weren't, I suspect the font size would be another frustration.
Still, if you're browsing this page, you're in the market for Marx. This is the book you want.