In a famous riff on Hegel, Marx once said that history repeats itself, "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Marx’s own biography suggests a different sequence. His life was a grubby, shambolic farce that somehow gave birth to a world-historic tragedy. Francis Wheen, the author of this generally excellent b ...more
However I didn't g ...more
A flawed genius that wrote one of the most important and influential books in human history. Marx here comes by as a sectarian asshole alienating almost all his comrades all the time, as being mostly dirt poor, but also as be ...more
He was a dynamite speaker, especially when there was a brouhaha amongst his fellow rabble-rousers, as there usually was. He could round up the troops, get anything he wanted passed when he was running, say, the International Working Men's Association.
Karl Marx, whose influence on modern times has been compared to that of Jesus Christ, spent most of his lifetime in obscurity. Penniless, exiled in London, estranged from relations, and on the run from most of the police forces of Europe, his ambitions as a revolutionary were frequently thwarted, and his major writings on politics and economics remained unpublished (in some cases until after the Second World War). He has not lacked biographers, but even the most distinguished...more
Paul Johnson's chapter on Marx relies heavily on Robert Payne's 1968 biography which I haven't located but take to be quite critical. Wheen's 1999 entry intends to walk an even-handed middle ground between "hagiography" (his word) and utter scorn, which it does.
Nonetheless, at times Wheen s ...more
Karl Marx is an educating idol for anyone who wants to think on their own, to conclude only what their mind understand by const ...more
I have written previously in a different forum, "Much like Charles Darwin, who discovered immutable truths regarding of the origins and evolution of life, Karl Marx was a pioneering scientist. He guided humanity through the reasons capitalism was born, why it would thrive and domi ...more
His ideas were not widely accepted during his lifetime, but were eventually co-opted at devastating human cost by a succession of fanatical totalitarian state actors.
One thing that he did get right, and which has been widely misrepresented by religionists who thrive on the golden goose of human gullibility, is expressed in the following quotation ...more
What amazes me is how someone can have a classical education and use that knowledge to twist it for evil.
This book focuses extensively on his writings and and publishing's. It was a little boring at times which is why I gave it a 3.
I think everyone needs to read something to do with Karl Marx in their life to realize how much our world is impacted by him today. He must be up ...more
Um livro muito interessante, fácil de se ler e que dismitifica o que muito se pensa acerca dele. Marx nunca foi um "furioso revolucionário que comia crianças ao pequeno-almoço" mas sim um grande pensador, pai de família e até mesmo burguês com gostos requintados, mas que nos deixou um enorme legado que infelizmente foi muito mal utilizado e compreendido, criando com isso uma imagem muito "sinistra" de Kar ...more
Wheen was educated at Copthorne Prep School, Harrow School and Royal Holloway College, University of London. At Harrow he was a contemporary of Mark Thatcher who has been a recurring subject of his journalism. He is a member of the 'soap' side of the Wheen family, whose family business ...more