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The Portable Karl Marx (Portable Library) Paperback – March 31, 1983

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Product Details

  • Series: Portable Library
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Ninth Printing edition (March 31, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014015096X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140150964
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By TheIrrationalMan on September 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
"The Portable Karl Marx" is a splendid anthology of Marx' writings, political, philosophical and economic. The book also features a selection of Marx' personal letters, his university records and various private documents, including his birth certificate, all which help to illuminate the character of one of the prophets of the modern age. The compendium of extracts traces Marx' intellectual trajectory, from his early discipleship to the critical idealism of Hegel, onto his maturity, by which time he had established himself as a luminary of political thought. The chief doctrines of his mature philosophy are expounded here, such as historical materialism, surplus value and the class struggle, which would be generated by the contradictions and tensions of capitalism itself, leading to the growth of an educated proletariat which would free themselves from their yoke and revolt to usher in the era of communism. Karl Marx is, along with Freud and Nietzsche, one of the focal points of the culture of the twentieth century. Contemporary debates on political philosophy cannot do without having recourse to, or at least coming to terms with, his shattering insights and path-making formulations.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Walker VINE VOICE on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is an outstanding overview of the life and thoughts of Karl Marx. The editor masterfully weaves together Marx's published works and private letters into a rich tapestry of history and ideas.
In addition to what you might expect to find in a collection like this (the text of The Communist Manifesto, selections from Das Kapital...), there are also tidbits from Marx's hand that help you truly understand the man and the history of his ideology, from his predictions on the fates of France and Russia, even down to his favorite color (red, of course) and his old report cards.
No serious student of economic and political philosophy should be without an understanding of Karl Marx. This book provides it like no other.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Chris on September 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
In addition to Marx's writings, this book consists of introductions to various sections of Marx's writings by Prof Kamenka, a chronology of events in Marx's life, letters and other documents by and about him and a glossary of Marxian terms. The writings can be tedious, windy full of run-on sentences, sometimes unreadable. I skipped some of them, including his speech "Value, price and profit," which Kamenka claims was a good laymen's introduction to the ideas of "Capital," but I gave it up after a few pages. The first section of writings is from before 1844. In the tradition of the enlightenment, he discusses the concept of "alienation," how human nature is based on the need to maximize one's creative potential. Yet under capitalism, the worker is turned into a machine; the product he makes, or help makes under the division of labor, does not give him any value, but the wealth from it goes to his boss. The workers intellectual capabilities and self-esteem are stunted. Thus, a truly just society would give the worker the freedom to pursue his dreams, not having to worry about renting himself out to capitalists to survive. Workers, those who actually produce wealth, would directly manage businesses (not state bureaucrats).
As we progress along the years with Marx, he begins to develop his redoubtable historical materialist conception of history. This is a "scientific" thesis that all societies pass through slavery, feudalism, and capitalism and then capitalism starts to break down because of its own "contradictions." In unrestrained capitalism, capitalists try to maximize profit anyway they can. They build up excess capacity of factories and other facilities to try to compete but unfortunately in unregulated competition, all but a select few are destroyed. The petit bourgeoisie i.e.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By T. Cotts on September 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wondered what all the fuss is about with regard to Socialism, this is the book to get you started. Marx, the true father of Socialism, was an economic genius, ranked with the likes of Einstein and his theory of relativity. Socialism is most likely not anything close to what you have been told or what you have assumed. As you will learn here, in the writings of Marx, Socialism is not the Nationalism forced upon Germany by the Nazi tyrant Hitler, nor the tyrannical form of Communism that Stalin forced upon Russia. Instead, true Socialism is not a controlling force by rather the result of the "energy and independence" of the working class, who emancipated and united, use "political power to the attainment of social ends." Socialism is a true form of democracy, where the State is governed by the working class, to serve the working class, unlike Capitalism, which, through propaganda, would have the people believe they live within the framework of a democratic republic, but who are in fact governed (directly and indirectly) by the few ruling class elite, who exploit the working class to service their accumulation of wealth and the power it affords them nationally and internationally. "Workers of the world, Unite!"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steiner VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
There is little question that Marx was the most important economic/political theorist of the modern era. The question then, is how to present an overview of his thought in a single volume.

This collection includes sections from Marx's earlier more philosophical period as a gradute student. It includes his dissertation on democritus and Epicurus as well as the famous essay 'On the Jewish Question.'

Additionally, there is the great 'German Ideology,' 'Gundrisse,' and the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (one of the most important works on political revolution in the entire literature. Of course you will also find the Manifesto, and selections from Capital (though far from comprehensive) as well as the Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844.

I was also pleased with the editor's inclusion of several letters of Marx between him and friends and family, mostly Engels. Also, there are report cards from the young Marx while he was in school, a fun extra.

The Portable Marx is a good way to begin to immerse yourself in Marx, though only a thorough reading of Capital will really allow you to appreciate the depth and range of his genius.
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