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The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition Paperback – April 4, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 938 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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 the Hardcover 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 the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (April 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844678768
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844678761
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (938 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My five star rating is based on the quality of this handsome edition of one of the classics of political philosophy. Classics of this magnitude, whether Adam Smith's THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, Tocqueville's DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, or THE FEDERALIST PAPERS have achieved a status that makes the assigning of a rating rather silly. Regardless of one's feelings about Marxism or Communism, a work of such gigantic influence is of such a status that rating it is almost silly. It is one of the constitutive artifacts of our culture.

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember reading the Communist Manifesto thirty years ago when I was at University. At the time it seemed tedious and impenetrable. Recently I re-read it and was amazed at how clear it seemed and what an effective piece of propaganda it was and how clear was the writing.
Reading through the program one realises the distance that has been travelled since it was written. Some of the major planks are the Abolition of Child Labour, the creation of a progressive income tax and Free Education.
Perhaps one of its major weaknesses is that Marx was a person who tended to carry a grudge. Thus a third of it is devoted to attacks on some of his contemporary enemies and rivals. These disputes have so long passed into history they are incomprehensible.
The modern notion of Communism of course stems not from Marx but from Stalin and Lenin. Marx wrote at a time when the only democratic country in Europe was France. England, Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire all had limited franchises and Russia was of course an autocracy. One of the major reforms he battled for was the introduction of democracy. It was his belief that the implementation of his program would flow from that.
Following Marx's death his movement evolved into a parliamentary movement the Social Democratic Party. Communism as a modern political phenomena dates from 1917 when splinter Social Democrats followed Russia's lead and developed small conspiratorial parties who were committed to the seizure of power by force. Stalinism is an offshoot of this system and is a form of state terror aimed at ensuring the survival of unpopular anti democratic regimes.
Reading through the Manifesto one can see the basis of a system which was not only an effective for mobilising political movements, but came to influence intellectual debate for the next century. There is also perhaps a sense of a naive optimism which could not contemplate the sorts of disasters which were to occur over the next hundred years.
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Calling this edition the "Collectors Edition" is an egregious misnomer. While the binding is good, that's the only thing positive that can be said about this edition. This "publisher" apparently has no editor and no one who understands a thing about professional typesetting. It looks as if it was typed out in MS Word. Paragraphs are indented a full half inch, AND the paragraphs have entire blank lines between them. The first half of the book uses straight quotes and two hyphens for dashes. The second half of the book switches to curly quotes, but puts spaces around full em dashes. Over and over again the apostrophe of possessives have spaces before the 's' (as in "Marx' s").

I was so disgusted with the poor quality typesetting that I returned it. If you're looking for a nice, high quality hardcover of the Manifesto, go for the Barnes & Noble edition. They at least have professional typesetters.

To the "publishers": I highly recommend you get yourselves a copy of Jan Tschichold's _The Form of the Book_ (you can get it here on Amazon). Please learn how to typeset a book properly before printing any more books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marx and Engels wrote The Communist Manifesto in 1848 at the request of the Communist League, a secret association of workers driven underground by political oppression aimed at preventing concerted revolutionary activity against bourgeois regimes throughout Europe. The Manifesto was written to provide a theoretical foundation and a practical program for the advancement of international communism and eventual elimination of bourgeois domination of property-less wage laborers.

The title of the document, simple and purely descriptive though it is, is commonly regarded as inflammatory, arousing derision, disdain, and virulent hostility among many, including those whom it was written to benefit. Nevertheless, there is much in the Manifesto, especially in the first chapter, that with the aid of hindsight could have been written by a contemporary neo-conservative intellectual, someone like Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell.

Specifically, Marx and Engels begin with a tribute to the unparalleled productive capacity of the capitalist organization of production. They freely laud the technological innovations fostered by capitalists' pursuit of surplus value, a process that has dramatically transformed the forces of production and the social relations of production. The result has been rapidly expanding output of industrial and agricultural goods of all kinds.

In accomplishing this, capital has extended its markets beyond national borders, creating a world market and a world economy. Raw materials from Latin America, Africa, and Asia are routinely used to manufacture finished goods in England, Germany, and other European countries. The same manufactured goods may then be sold in the very places that supplied the raw materials.
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