Setting aside the Marxist propaganda, you will find a superb history of the emergence of philosophical materialism. Materialism is not really dialectical, is all. Mario Bunge makes that clear in his books.
The problem I found clarified in this book is the long-standing clash between the idealists and the materialsts. This problem was already forlorn by the time Plato took it up in ancient Athens.
Novack quotes Plato in The Sophist on page 220:
"Why, this dispute about reality is a sort of Battle of Gods and Giants. One side drags everything down to earth, literally laying hands on rocks and trees, arguing that only what can be felt and touched is real, defining reality as body, and if anyone says that something without body is real, they treat him with contempt and will not listen to another word. "--Yes, they are clever fellows; I've met a lot of them. "--So their opponents in the height of the unseen defend their position with great skill, maintaining forcibly that true existence consists in certain intelligible, incorrigible forms, describing the so-called truth of others as a mere flowing sort of becoming, not reality at all, and smashing their so-called bodies to pieces. On this issue there is a terrific battle always going on."
On the next page Novack notes that the idealists are the Gods and the materialists are the Giants.
The problem with ideology is that by participating in ideological disputes, one gets drawn into this process that has no resolution by philosophical methods. It is literally hopeless. It has always been hopeless. Ever since Plato.
Science can be used as a tool to break the impasse.