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Karl Marx: A Biography

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All the great political revolutions of the twentieth century referred back to Marx. Reviled by some, revered by many, Marx's influence can be found in every area of the humanities and social sciences from literary criticism to globalization. In this thoroughly revised and updated new edition of his classic biography, David McLellan provides a clear and detailed account bot All the great political revolutions of the twentieth century referred back to Marx. Reviled by some, revered by many, Marx's influence can be found in every area of the humanities and social sciences from literary criticism to globalization. In this thoroughly revised and updated new edition of his classic biography, David McLellan provides a clear and detailed account both of Marx's dramatic life and of his path-breaking thought together with a wealth of bibliographical information for further reading.


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All the great political revolutions of the twentieth century referred back to Marx. Reviled by some, revered by many, Marx's influence can be found in every area of the humanities and social sciences from literary criticism to globalization. In this thoroughly revised and updated new edition of his classic biography, David McLellan provides a clear and detailed account bot All the great political revolutions of the twentieth century referred back to Marx. Reviled by some, revered by many, Marx's influence can be found in every area of the humanities and social sciences from literary criticism to globalization. In this thoroughly revised and updated new edition of his classic biography, David McLellan provides a clear and detailed account both of Marx's dramatic life and of his path-breaking thought together with a wealth of bibliographical information for further reading.

30 review for Karl Marx: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This is both an intellectual and personal biography of Karl Marx written with sympathetic intelligence by a recognized authority on Marx and Marxism. Commentators (one appended) often cite it as the best biography of Marx in English. Having only read about four of them, I can only say the claim is quite plausible. In any case, the writing is clear, the scholarship good and the notes helpful.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I'm glad the life he led was consistent with his views. Kind of a miserable life of poverty though. I'm glad the life he led was consistent with his views. Kind of a miserable life of poverty though.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    In what has stood for decades now as the standard English-language biography of Karl Marx, David McLellan offers a deeply humanizing and, in my view, fair portrait of the father of scientific socialism. Essential reading for every Marxist.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amin Dorosti

    این کتاب برای آشنایی با اندیشه های کارل مارکس کتاب مناسبی است. نویسنده کوشیده است تا خطوط اصلی اندیشه مارکس را تا آنجا که حجم نوشته امکان داده است روشن سازد و نیز تا آنجا که ممکن است از تفاسیری که بعدها از اندیشه مارکس انجام شده است دوری گزیده و تا آنجا که ممکن است به اندیشه خود مارکس وفادار باشد. نویسنده در پایان کتاب نیز در فصلی با عنوان «چگونه مارکس را بخوانیم؟» کوشیده است تا راه مطالعات بعدی در زمینه اندیشه مارکس را به خوانندگان نشان دهد. روی هم رفته این کتاب به عنوان یک کتاب مقدماتی برای آشنا این کتاب برای آشنایی با اندیشه های کارل مارکس کتاب مناسبی است. نویسنده کوشیده است تا خطوط اصلی اندیشه مارکس را تا آنجا که حجم نوشته امکان داده است روشن سازد و نیز تا آنجا که ممکن است از تفاسیری که بعدها از اندیشه مارکس انجام شده است دوری گزیده و تا آنجا که ممکن است به اندیشه خود مارکس وفادار باشد. نویسنده در پایان کتاب نیز در فصلی با عنوان «چگونه مارکس را بخوانیم؟» کوشیده است تا راه مطالعات بعدی در زمینه اندیشه مارکس را به خوانندگان نشان دهد. روی هم رفته این کتاب به عنوان یک کتاب مقدماتی برای آشنایی با مارکس کتاب بسیار خوبیست.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Drawing upon the exhaustive archives of Karl Marx's correspondence, notebooks, and unpublished manuscripts, this biography by David McLellan not only details the contours of Marx's life, both private and public, political and theoretical, but also provides a picture of his personality, sense of humor, prejudices, friendships and enmities which is often as surprising in its content as in its vividness. Following Marx on his not-infrequent travels (for reasons of both politics and, late in his lif Drawing upon the exhaustive archives of Karl Marx's correspondence, notebooks, and unpublished manuscripts, this biography by David McLellan not only details the contours of Marx's life, both private and public, political and theoretical, but also provides a picture of his personality, sense of humor, prejudices, friendships and enmities which is often as surprising in its content as in its vividness. Following Marx on his not-infrequent travels (for reasons of both politics and, late in his life, failing health) back and forth across western Europe from his final home base in London, the book also pieces together his intellectual development from Young Hegelian and Romantic poet(!) to pragmatic dialectical materialist, his lifelong involvement in (often struggling, frequently censored) socialist journalism, revolutionary hopes raised and then dashed in the upheavals of 1848 and then again in the Franco-Prussian War, and his role in the formation, internecine factionalism, and dissolution of the First International. His habitual tendency to political activism, along with his (also habitual) impecunity, shed some light on the trying conditions under which Marx, by his method of voraciously synthesizing vast reams of data, and further burdened by his own perfectionist compulsion to endlessly revise his work, managed to produce the handful of groundbreaking texts that would serve – beginning even in Marx's lifetime – as the theoretical foundations of modern communist political-economics.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nataly Dybens

    reading this for my intro to marxism class. i have learned so much. almost everything that i thought i knew &have heard people say is wrong about the beliefs of marx. you have to read marx before you make comments &assumptions on him.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark Valentine

    I clarified some assumptions that I had held about Marx--for example, he never mentioned "dialectical materialism" in his writings (a Soviet add-on) and that he was much more of a humanist than I remember--so that by the end of my reading, I wanted to call myself a Marxist. Except Marx refused to call himself a Marxist. So much for that idea. This was my second reading. My first was in my undergrad days and it was fascinating to read my own underlinings and notes in the margin. My own personal t I clarified some assumptions that I had held about Marx--for example, he never mentioned "dialectical materialism" in his writings (a Soviet add-on) and that he was much more of a humanist than I remember--so that by the end of my reading, I wanted to call myself a Marxist. Except Marx refused to call himself a Marxist. So much for that idea. This was my second reading. My first was in my undergrad days and it was fascinating to read my own underlinings and notes in the margin. My own personal time capsule, this book. Oddly invigorating!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kirti

    A genius who never saw the impact of his work. And yet he was a disorganised, possibly quite lazy, dreamer. Not so much workers of the world unit but more dreamers of the world unite.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    An excellent study of Marx, showing him to be a brilliant mind but flawed individual. The danger of discussing well-written biographies is that you end up reviewing the subject of the book rather than the book itself, but here goes... Like Marx himself, the book starts slowly. There's not a lot to talk about for 20-odd years as Marx (8th out of about 30 in his class at school) seems destined for little more than middle-class mediocrity. He's also terrible with money throughout his life, relying o An excellent study of Marx, showing him to be a brilliant mind but flawed individual. The danger of discussing well-written biographies is that you end up reviewing the subject of the book rather than the book itself, but here goes... Like Marx himself, the book starts slowly. There's not a lot to talk about for 20-odd years as Marx (8th out of about 30 in his class at school) seems destined for little more than middle-class mediocrity. He's also terrible with money throughout his life, relying on handouts from friends and relatives, which would no doubt amuse any opponents of his political and economic thought. A massive snob, both intellectual (You will lose count of the number of people he dismisses as 'Philistines') and social, Marx clearly had no intention of touching a working-class person with a ten-foot-bargepole. His wife is loyal and long-suffering. He has an illegitimate child with the maid. His best friend, Engels, bails him out financially for decades and even writes articles for him when Marx is indisposed. Marx fails to show any sympathy or concern when Engels' 'wife' passes away. He holds innumerable pointless grudges and indulges in the kind of hair-splitting arguments on doctrine that have characterised left-wing politics throughout its history. If you're only 99.5% in agreement with Karl's opinions, that's 0.5% too little for him. Remarkably, despite all this, McLellan's clear, objective approach makes you, if not sympathetic to the man, at least understanding of the passion and tireless work that he put into his writing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J

    The single best book on, you guessed it, Marx's life and thought. Covers his intellectual development comprehensively. The single best book on, you guessed it, Marx's life and thought. Covers his intellectual development comprehensively.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter Harrison

    A wonderful introduction to Marx covering both his life and the basics of his intellectual progress. I assume it's slightly outdated now - certainly the bibliography is I suspect no more than a starting point to the older work on Marx. That said, McClellan was recommended as part of my University course and has a very readable style. The book presents Marx's work in it's chronological context as a progression rather than taking pieces in isolation. As such McClellan doesn't see a break in Marx's A wonderful introduction to Marx covering both his life and the basics of his intellectual progress. I assume it's slightly outdated now - certainly the bibliography is I suspect no more than a starting point to the older work on Marx. That said, McClellan was recommended as part of my University course and has a very readable style. The book presents Marx's work in it's chronological context as a progression rather than taking pieces in isolation. As such McClellan doesn't see a break in Marx's thought and the book is the stronger for it. A great introduction for the general reader to his life and thought.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I started this book at the tail end of 2021 and found it very engaging and read most of it in a little over a week. Then, for some reason, I put it down leaving the last chapter unread for months - perhaps I got bored, or perhaps I didn't want it to end? McLellan follows a rough biography of Marx's life integrates his theories throughout (I don't think this review will win any awards as I've basically rewritten the title but with longer words!) I started this book at the tail end of 2021 and found it very engaging and read most of it in a little over a week. Then, for some reason, I put it down leaving the last chapter unread for months - perhaps I got bored, or perhaps I didn't want it to end? McLellan follows a rough biography of Marx's life integrates his theories throughout (I don't think this review will win any awards as I've basically rewritten the title but with longer words!)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clayton Brannon

    A must read for anyone interested in Karl Marx. Fascinating well researched story about Karl his life his writings and the times he lived in.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rosa Ramôa

    "Os filósofos limitaram-se a interpretar o mundo de diversas maneiras;o que importa é modificá-lo". (Karl Marx) "Os filósofos limitaram-se a interpretar o mundo de diversas maneiras;o que importa é modificá-lo". (Karl Marx)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Justforflying

    want to read,but i can not find a english version.

  16. 5 out of 5

    mao

    A general biographical introduction to Dr. Marx and his thought.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ufbs

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jasnsen

  19. 5 out of 5

    John

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter Halliday

  22. 5 out of 5

    Robin Mydlak

  23. 5 out of 5

    Grace Allen

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Buhr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hussein Saber

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Myers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Marks

  28. 4 out of 5

    Luis

  29. 5 out of 5

    howl of minerva

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ileni

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