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“Marx and Engels’s historical analysis is breathtakingly, brilliantly simple. I think it’s wrong but, again, you’ve just got to admire its genius. Obviously, without understanding the historical basis of Marx’s thought you can’t understand anything else in Marxism.” Read more...
The best books on Global History
Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Historian
“I chose The Communist Manifesto, rather than, say, Capital because it shows in a much easier-to-read, shorter work something that is central to Marx’s vision. ..The Communist Manifesto is an early work, published in February 1848, the year of revolutions in Europe, when Marx was not quite 30. The Manifesto shows Marx still thinking within the framework of Hegel’s ideas about contradiction but transforming them from something that’s happening in our consciousness to something that’s happening in the material world.” Read more...
Peter Singer on Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Peter Singer, Philosopher
“The manifesto is the most widely read tract Marx ever wrote. It explains capitalism, where it came from and how they see it as being in its late stage. They argue that capitalism laid the groundwork for socialism by making the world into one capitalist market and doing away with nationalist loyalties. There is one famous sentence: “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned.” They believed that capitalism was equipping the proletariat to take control of the engine of capitalist production and turn it over to social uses. There’s a lot of critique of other socialists as well, but those sections are outmoded. The bulk of it is a very powerful statement of the nature of capitalism. It was influential all over the world and has been translated into who knows how many languages – over 200 I’m sure.” Read more...
The best books on The Roots of Radicalism
Michael Kazin, Historian