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The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics) Paperback – August 27, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A decent read. Would recommend to history lovers. Easily relatable to modern society in the sense that people want change, but don't want to be revolutionary in action.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
It's from a long time ago but it makes a lot of sense even today tbh. Recommended read for anyone anywhere anytimePublished 4 days ago by Ryan Oliveira
For its time this book was rather revolutionary and would resonate well with the working class who read it, even today, but with current labor laws, worker unions and federal... Read morePublished 11 days ago by Macintrasher
In order to critique something it is necessary to know what one's talking about it. This book is good for that purpose.Published 16 days ago by VM Westerberg