Capital: Volume I: 1 Paperback – Illustrated, 5 May 1992
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- Language : English
- Paperback : 1152 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0140445684
- ISBN-13 : 978-0140445688
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Best Sellers Rank: 356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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About the Author
Karl Marx was born in 1818 in Trier, Germany and studied in Bonn and Berlin. Influenced by Hegel, he later reacted against idealist philosophy and began to develop his own theory of historical materialism. He related the state of society to its economic foundations and mode of production, and recommended armed revolution on the part of the proletariat. Together with Engels, who he met in Paris, he wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party. He lived in England as a refugee until his death in 1888, after participating in an unsuccessful revolution in Germany.
Ernst Mandel was a member of the Belgian TUV from 1954 to 1963 and was chosen for the annual Alfred Marshall Lectures by Cambridge University in 1978. He died in 1995 and the Guardian described him as 'one of the most creative and independent-minded revolutionary Marxist thinkers of the post-war world.'
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Having read... most of it, its dry, that isn't a criticism as I'm aware that it's written to be thorough and translated for the same purpose... I sincerely recommend this book to anyone. You may disagree with some of it, you may find yourself waving a red banner from atop the barricades, you may find yourself yelling at it to get to the point and please pick something other than a coat please someone give Karl a scarf and mittens the poor guy must be freezing.
None of that really matters. The criticisms are solid and well-argued. Capitalism isn't perfect nor is it mandatory, and while this didn't turn me into a communist it gave me a better understanding of the means by which explotation of people and resources becomes a self-sustaining system with no foresight or internal restraints.
4 stars because it hasn't got any cool cyberpunk stuff but at least it's a thorough explanation of the inevitable systems of coercive exploitation resulting from the unbalanced concentration of wealth capitalism has as its foundation I guess.
Without question, even for exceptionally well informed and intellectually capable readers, this book is a bear. If you invest the substantial
amount of time and prodigious effort needed to master it, you will definitely come to understand why Marxists become Marxists, and you may very well become one yourself. At the very least, you'll see the world differently, and you'll have a firmer grasp on the character of our contemporary world, not just its economic make-up, but in a socially expansive way. It's hard to imagine anyone reading the book carefully and with a modicum of understanding and coming away with the judgment that this is merely an ideologically motivated, long-winded exercise in willful self-deception and the deception of others. If you encounter someone who characterized Marx as a willfully wrong-headed ideologue, you may safely assume that you're dealing with someone who has not read Capital.
Capital Volume 1 is, in fact, a richly informative and very difficult piece of world-class research. I imagine that most readers who take its full measure will come back to it again and again. I can't imagine doing justice to Capital Volume 1 without putting forth the kind of effort that makes for the creation of a life-long connection. Marx himself claims to have sacrificed his health, happiness, and family to writing the book. This has the pathetic sound of self-pitying exaggeration. But given what I know of Marx and the necessarily prodigious demands of the kind of work he produced, I'm sure he's being dispassionately truthful.
You may be disappointed to find that Capital is much less polemical than it is rigorously analytical. That was my first response. For the long term, however, I realized the book is a keeper, and I acknowledged that I'd have to look elsewhere for a call-to-arms that is not also embedded in massive learning. It's true, of course that Marx was an active professional revolutionary, but he was also a world-class scholar with a prodigiously cultivated mind. Reading Marx makes me want to spend a year or two in the library of the British Museum, where Marx did his best scholarship.
Marx and Charles Darwin exchanged fairly frequent correspondence. Everyone knows that Darwin transformed our understanding of the world and our place in it. Much the same is true of Marx's contribution to human knowledge. It's interesting to acknowledge that social and religious conservatism were barriers to the rightful dissemination of both. That Marx maintained an ongoing relationship with others of undeniable genius, such as Darwin, bespeaks Marx's own intellectual prowess and reflects his status as a wonderfully original thinker. In his own authentic way, Marx was at least as much a brilliant scientist as Darwin. Darwin changed the way we thought about ourselves, but Marx changed the way we live.