- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reissue edition (May 15, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019953571X
- ISBN-13: 978-0199535712
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,390 customer reviews)
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The Communist Manifesto Reissue Edition
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"A spectre is haunting Europe," Karl Marx and Frederic Engels wrote in 1848, "the spectre of Communism." This new edition of The Communist Manifesto, commemorating the 150th anniversary of its publication, includes an introduction by renowned historian Eric Hobsbawm which reminds us of the document's continued relevance. Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism and its deleterious effect on all aspects of life, from the increasing rift between the classes to the destruction of the nuclear family, has proven remarkably prescient. Their spectre, manifested in the Manifesto's vivid prose, continues to haunt the capitalist world, lingering as a ghostly apparition even after the collapse of those governments which claimed to be enacting its principles. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Library Journal
May 1 to honor the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Marx and Engels's masterpiece with this quality, affordable hardcover. This edition contains a new introduction by historian Eric Hobsbawn, who insists that the work should be read not only as a great work of literature but that, 150 years later, it still has much to teach us for the next millennium.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The particular edition I am reviewing is the recent reissue on Verso with an introduction by Eric Hobsbawm. There are a host of editions of THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO, and virtually any of them will do the trick, but I very much enjoyed this edition, partly for the handsome jacket and binding, and partly for the superb intro by Hobsbawm. It is not a new translation, and indeed it isn't clear that there will ever be much of a demand for a new translation. The MANIFESTO was first published in 1848 and this translation in 1888. Moore's translation is the standard one for a simple reason: Engels examined it closely and helped Moore in editing the final draft of the translation.
Although I had read a fair amount in the writings of Marx over the years, this was my first time to read the work from cover to cover. I found it surprising on several levels. First, it was a much easier to read work than I had anticipated. This is upon reflection hardly surprising. The work was intended as a pamphlet for the masses, and it was essential that it be as understandable as possible. Also, the concepts and ideas articulated in these pages have become a part of the intellectual landscape of Western civilization. A host of ideas are commonplace, even among those who do not consider themselves sympathetic towards Marxism. It has become a commonplace of the past decade that Communism and Democracy clashed, and Communism lost. But the fact is that Marxist thought has exerted a massive influence on the way we view the world, and many things introduced by Marx are now central constituents of our world. Just look at the way we write history now. Before Marx a detailed consideration of the economic factors in an era was unheard of; now it is considered essential.
As a credo, I find myself conflicted over its contents, just as I always find myself conflicted in reading Marx. Marx's analyses of the dynamics governing capitalist society have always struck me as dead on. No one writes more presciently or timelessly about the structures of exploitation that are inherent in capitalism. Nonetheless, I find his positive proposals as to how to transcend capitalism to be untenable, and the post-capitalist world he describes to be undesirable. The best way to express this is that I find Marx the critic to be convincing and impressive, but Marx the visionary to be irrelevant. I want us to pay attention to Marx's critiques, but not to his proposals for change.
I was delighted in reading the book to find the word "highfalutin" in the text. The world seems somehow to be a more charming place for the unexpected presence of such a light-hearted word in the midst of a serious text.
Though listed as the work of Marx and Engels, Marx was the primary creator of the work. He also did the bulk of the writing. It isn't sufficiently commented on what a beautiful writer Marx could be when he tried. Too often he adopts the try academic style begun with Christian Wolff and continued by Kant, Fichte, and Hegel. But a host of exquisite phrases such as "All that is solid melts into air" shows that Marx could turn a phrase when conviction didn't prevent him.
Everyone interested in political thought or modern history needs to read this book. Its influence--its ongoing influence--is incalculable. Its critique of the exploitative nature of capitalism remains astonishingly relevant. And its predictions about the future course of history, even if no longer inspiring or convincing, are crucial to grasp if one is to understand many of the political impulses of the past one hundred and fifty years.
With that said, the beginning of the book is fairly straight-forward as Marx describes his take on the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. This portion will allow the reader to understand the broad implications of Marx's ideals. In the following sections, Marx adjusts his focus to theological and metaphysical critiques which, as I mentioned earlier, are difficult to truly capture in audio-book form.
One of Marx's primary criticisms that stuck out was his attempted refutation of the idea that profits are the only incentive towards labor. He notes that laborers work only for wages, while capitalists (non-producers) earn profits by usurping value from the laborers. Thus he concludes profits are unnecessary for production. However, in this piece he rests his case there. He does not address the need for capital accumulation to assist labor. He does not discuss the role of profits in allocating capital. He also does not discuss the hierarchical production chain (of a single company) ending at the profit-earning capitalist and the incentives created therein. This book is really just a primer on his ideas, requiring the reader to seek further texts for clarification.
I have used several of these writings in my classroom as primary source. My students are usually interested in learning more about the time periods we discuss through the selection of texts in this collection. I've had a few students pick the book up and flip through during their lunch break or after school just to read through some of the other writers we don't get to during the year.
I highly recommend this if you are a teacher or student. You also can't beat the price!
A couple Euro erudites wrote about a plan B or work around for these captains of industry who enslaved Industrial Age workers.
Marx, for some reason, got most of the name recognition.
Communism was the supposed cure for the horrible things rich holes were doing to human capital, working them to death for abhorrent wages.
And we spent the next 2 world wars and 100 years of on & off Cold War fighting that putrid façade for totalitarianism, Marx's vision, Communism. This is the idealist's playbook. This is what the psychotics used for killing the Tsar and his wife and babies, then the 30 million Stalin murders. I had to see what started it all.