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Marx's Das Kapital: A Biography (Books That Shook the World)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  529 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
In this brilliant book, Francis Wheen, the author of the most successful biography of Karl Marx, tells the story of Das Kapital and Marx's twenty-year struggle to complete his unfinished masterpiece. Born in a two-room flat in London's Soho amid political squabbles and personal tragedy, the first volume of Das Kapital was published in 1867 to muted praise. But after Marx's ...more
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Published December 5th 2007 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2006)
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Apr 17, 2013 Kriegslok rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about the book that probably directly and indirectly influenced the 20th Century more than any other. While a thin volume (especially when compare to the great work that it explores) it does some valuable work and sets a few important records straight. Perhaps key amongst these is to underscore that Das Kapital cannot and should not be seen as a "Marxist bible of eternally codified canons" - although such a religious cult soon developed around the book, a book which is probably as ...more
Sep 16, 2012 DoctorM rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely small essay on "Das Kapital" not as a classic of political economy, but as a literary effort. However odd it may sound to ferret out elements of Gothic romance in Marx, the metaphors are there, and are quite likely things Karl-Heinrich himself would've understood: the creation (capitalism) that turns on and ensnares its creators, the creation that lives by draining out the life and soul of its creator. Wheen is having a good time here, but he's serious enough about "Kapital" as more tha ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Najmuddin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#DasKapital adalah karya fragmenter yang tak lengkap. Marx sendiri merancang 6 jilid, sedangkan yang terbit semasa hidupnya hanya jilid pertama. Jilid ke-2 dan ke-3 adalah hasil kompilasi Engels. Maka ini penting diketahui terutamanya oleh penganut komunisme yang berkeras bahawa apa yang diucap Marx benar, dan yang tidak diucapnya salah.

Kata ekonomis Michael Lebowitz, benar bahawa Marx dengan bijaksana telah menemukan satu benua baru, tapi itu tidak berarti Marx telah memetakan benua itu semuany
Antti Sorri
Karl Marxin (1818 – 1883) vaikutus modernille maailmalle on ollut suunnaton. Hänen teoksiaan on painettu ja ajatuksiaan levitetty ympäri maailmaa – eniten sitten Jeesuksen. Pitkän 1900-luvun aikana (termi Eric Hobsbawmin) hänen filosofiansa innoitti ns. sosialistista leiriä, jonka alaisuudessa eli parhaimmillaan puolet maailman väestöstä.

Marx oli kapitalismina tunnetun talousjärjestelmän suurin kriitikko. Noin 1850-luvun vaihteesta lähtien hän tuotti valtavan määrän erilaista tutkimustietoa ja a
Apr 19, 2016 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author's approach is intriguing: he explores Das Kapital through the lens of literary criticism. In Kapital Marx's task is to show this unreal thing: capital, and the very real material effects it has on the lives and environment. For this task he looks to various literary models, such as Jonathon Swift's Gulliver's travels, and the gothic novels with their emphasis on the spectres and the horrors they create. This is why you encounter such difficult theorizing such as C-M-C and M-C-M, (or C ...more
في ثلاث فصول يلخص الكتاب حياة كتاب "رأس المال- كارل ماركس" . يبدأ الكاتب بحياة ماركس الصحفية و معاناته في المنفى. ثم يبدأ بوصف المعاناة التي ساهمت في مولد الفكرة لدى ماركس.
ثم ينتقل من ذلك الى مراحل كتابة الكتاب و التقسيم الاول لكتابه. و يختتمه بردود الفعل بعد ظهور المجلد الاول و قصة ظهور باقي المجلدات و كيف انتشر في انحاء اوربا. ايضا العوامل التي ساعدت على انتشاره و من قام بالمساعدة في ذلك.

بالمجمل هو كتاب شيق لمن لديه اهتمام بماركس او بأفكاره .
Mark Desrosiers
Apr 13, 2008 Mark Desrosiers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Wheen's brief, enthusiastic treatment of one of the Western canon's most forbidding volumes doesn't exactly make you want to read it, but does generate new respect for its eccentricity and prophetic power. Early on, Wheen argues that Das Kapital should be seen as a work of art, and not as a mind-numbing economics text:

"By the time he wrote Das Kapital, he was pushing out beyond conventional prose into radical literary collage -- juxtaposing voices and quotations from mythology and literature, fr
فهد الفهد
رأس المال لكارل ماركس – سيرة

يتناول هذا الكتاب المثير، قصة الكتاب الاقتصادي الأشهر، وحكاية مؤلفه الذي تحول اسمه في فترة من الزمن إلى مفردة حياتية يومية، وتحولت نظريته إلى دستور لعدد كبير من الدول، بل إنها حددت العالم إلى التقسيم الشهير والذائع حتى الآن، العالم الأول الرأسمالي، العالم الثاني الماركسي، والعالم الثالث.

بدأ الكتاب كفكرة بين الصديقين الجديدين كارل ماركس وفريديريك إنجلز، أثناء لقاءهما الأول 1844 م، حيث تحولت هذه الفكرة إلى ما يشبه المشروع المشترك، حيث إنجلز بصلاته وعمله في بورصة القطن
sahar soliman
Sep 15, 2016 sahar soliman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
وجدني هذا الكتاب في مكتبة الجامعة حينما كنت أقرأ، وقد استعرته كبداية لمعرفة كارل ماركس أكثر عن طريق كتابه "رأس المال" الذي لم تتح لي الفرصة لقراءة بعد. إلا أن فرصة قراءتي لهذه السيرة جيده جيداً قبل قراءة نص رأس المال. فقد بدأ يعرفني على كيفية كتابة كارل لرأس المال والمعاناة التي عانى منها في حياته من الفقر و الموت وصعوبة الكتابة في أجواء كهذه. لطالما تخيلت أن كتابة نص كثيف كهذا يترتب عليه بيئة معينه من الهدوء والنظافة والصحة الكامله للجسد، وطبعاً أوقات فراغ كثيره. إلا أنني اكتشفت عكس ذلك، بل ومن ...more
Aug 02, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really, a person with any sense of history has to read Capital. It's a vitally important work to understanding economy from the 19th century forward. But why not, before plunging into what Wheen describes as a gothic horror novel without reading a history of Capital's history? So glad I did. His enthusiasm for Capital is infectious and makes the reader EXCITED to have at Marx's classic.

I also took his suggestion and purchased McLellan's abridgment of Capital. While one day I'd love to read all
Very engrossing and well written. And just as the reviewer Bill Ward said, "Wheen shows that Marx's work is something like a vast Gothic novel, whose heroes are enslaved by the monster they created: capitalism." I can't believe I'm saying this but after reading this, I want to read Capital from cover to cover.

This small book is broken down into only three chapters in which the author describes some biographical history about Marx and the circumstances of his life leading up to the first submissi
I picked this up because I read a review that pointed out the similarity of Das Kapital to a gothic novel. I've never read, nor likely ever will read, Das Kapital(especially not in a coffee shop where an odd little man will keep trying to make eye contact with me until I acknowledge him so that he can talk about Marx) but this slim, engaging work has at least provided me with enough of an idea of the work to be able to discuss it with at least a modicum of intelligence. And, if I prove to be as ...more
Interesting to find out that Marx intended Das Kapital to be a literary work much like Pound's Cantos incorporating disjunctive methods! Maybe a way in for me.
Jan 23, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, bio, biblio, philosophy
A very engaging and thought-provoking precis of Das Kapital and its importance; this book gave background to the creation, a summary of the content, and a short history of the influence of this monumental work.

I quite enjoyed the generous spirit with which Mr Wheen approached Marx's opus--in the hands of a more mean-spirited or shallow dogmatist, this might have been a railing against the Hegelian dialectic in which it is cast, or a spotlighting of supposed unfulfilled prophecies and promise.

Ahmed Ramadan
إيه بقى اللى أنا قريته دا :D
كتاب نظرى بمفاهيم ومصطلحات لمحبى الاقتصاد مع ذكر مشاهد من حياة كارل ماركس و ظروفه المعيشية و كيفية كتابته لما سمى بعد فكريْا (( الماركسية ))
لا يفضل قراءته كتلخيص لمنهجية كارل ماركس و تفكيره
Wirawan Sukarwo
Kita mengenal paradigma penelitian kualitatif yang mengajarkan metode observasi parsitipatoris untuk mendapatkan tesis yang mantap mengenai satu objek yang sifatnya kompleks, seperti budaya. Hal inilah yang tidak didapatkan Marx ketika harus melakukan kritik tajam terhadap kegagalan Kapitalisme yang menyentuh semua aspek kehidupan manusia modern. Setidaknya, itulah yang bisa saya dapatkan dari buku ini. Betapa Marx menghabiskan waktu sekian lama dengan penelusuran literatur (di museum dan perpus ...more
Homer Harianja
Banyak fakta dan kisah menarik yang disampaikan penulis dalam buku tipis yang hanya terdiri dari tiga bab ini. Mungkin kemalaratan Karl Marx semasa hidupnya sudah menjadi pengetahuan populer, tapi kalau kisah pembacaan Althusser? ini akan mengejutkan kalau pembaca tahu siapa dia.

Bab pertama berkisah tentang masa hidup karl marx dan proses kreatifnya dalam menulis das kapital, bab ke dua soal das kapital itu sendiri yang banyak bercerita nilai lebih dan yang terakhir adalah pengaruh das kapital k
I had to read Das Kapital when I was studying political science for my undergrad degree. That was during the Cold War, and so politics was of course colored by Soviet/American relations, so it was necessary to understand communism and socialism in order to understand the politics of the time. I liked Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto, and I understood them when I read them. This book gave me much more insight into Karl Marx and told me the story of what the man went through when he was try ...more
I really like the case that Francis Wheen makes in this brief, entertaining, ever so slightly ironic, and engaging discussion of Capital that Marx might just becme the most important thinker in the 21st century. Alas, the downside is that this may be the case precisely because his work has lost its political threat, at least in the context of the collapse of Actually Existing Socialism.

Capital is perhaps the most important book about capitalism that there is, in part because it is always the cri
Jul 10, 2013 Marina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This little book reads easily and brilliantly, and is especially interesting to those with Leftist sympathies. Beyond that, Wheen provides the space (although 'tainted', so to say, by unconditional admiration for Marx) for moderate critics of Das Kapital to redimension the place they have assigned to Marx.

For an aspiring Das Kapital reader, this book provides the right setting to semi-arbitrarily make one feel as if one is reading fiction, which makes Marx all the easier to enjoy. Most contempo
Aug 29, 2013 Winston rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-reviewed
This book is a decent short account of Marx's struggle to write the first three books of Das Kapital. Despite its short length, it manages to ramble a bit, and doesn't do that great a job explaining the basic principles of Marxism or the milestones of Marx's life.

Marx in fact only completed one book, and his friend Engels completed the next two. The three volumes make up a work almost unreadable due to its length and density.

Wheen explains labor and labor power as employees getting paid for valu
Nov 04, 2010 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read Das Kapital in college as part of my studies in Economic History I was intrigued when I came upon this title. What in this very short book could Mr. Wheen say about Karl Marx's massive tome? Surprisingly, he can and does say a lot about the genesis of Marx's work as well as its meaning and, most importantly, its impact. I remember my economic studies as having focused on the economic theories propounded by Marx and having been impressed that he shared with Adam Smith the subsequently ...more
Elliot Ratzman
Das Kapital is a book about economics that changed the world; but is it art? Wheen shows how Marx created a cross between a Gothic novel and a Greek tragedy where capitalism eats its children, vampire-like, where commodities take on a life of their own like his beloved novel Frankenstein, where Dickinsinian irony is punctuated by grim stats and stories of exploitation and misery. Blending economics, philosophy, and anthropology, Wheen calls it “entirely sui generis.” Though Marx researched it fo ...more
Wes Bishop
Oct 10, 2014 Wes Bishop rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short, concise, and highly approachable introduction to the book Das Kapital by Karl Marx. Wheen separates the book into three sections; the first dealing with the historic background of the book, author, and process that brought it into publication; the second is an examination of the book's main arguments; the third is how the book went on to influence world events and leaders. Well worth anyone's time who would like a summary before delving into Marx's 1000 plus page book.
John Maniscalco
I have always wanted to read Kapital but never thought it was worth the thousands of pages of reading it would require so I opted for this small book that I believed would provide an in depth analysis of Marx's argument. The author provides a bare minimum of Marx's view of capital and the theory of surplus value but delves too deeply into Marx's linguistic style, his excuses for not finishing the book on time (he was delayed by decades), and the way in which Marxists later hijacked Marxism as an ...more
Feb 21, 2012 Julien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good short introduction to a notorious (and notoriously difficult) book. I like everything I've read by Wheen. He's insightful, opinionated, and witty, and he writes without resort to jargon. He's especially good in this book at bringing out the literary aspects of Capital, comparing, for instance, its shaggy-dog, surreal discussion of a coat's transformation from cloth to commodity to money to Tristram Shandy (which is not a gratuitous or forced comparison—Marx was a fan of Sterne). The sh ...more
Feb 24, 2013 Nick rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poor, light, an excuse to cash in a pay ... The work is superficial, flimsy (about 100 pages); and the only part somehow worth reading is the final (about 8-10 pages) - where the author reminds us of some interesting remarks that more modern economists made on Das Kapital.

As one who had also read Blackburn's "Plato's Republic" in the same series, I am frustrated by the lack of quality in this new book, the rush with which this author (WHEEN) collects his check mark and moves on to some other (si
Haidar Almubarak
كتاب خفيف يشرح قصة كتاب رأس المال لكارل ماركس. يبدأ برحلة ولادة الكتاب المتعسرة والتي اخذت أعواما حتى خرج بهذه الصورة ثم يستعرض بعض النقاط المهمة التي وردت في كتاب رأس المال وفي الفصل الأخير يعرج على آثار الأفكار التي سطره ماركس في كتابه على الكثير من المفكرين وكيف تم استغلال بعض الافكار بعكس ماكان يريد أو يقصد ماركس في كتابه الأصلي

لم تسنح لي الفرصة لقراءة كتاب ماركس لكن الكاتب اشار لبعض الخصائص الأدبية والفلسفية التي جاءت في كتاب رأس المال وكيف تأثر ماركس بالأدباء والفلاسفة الذين قرأ لهم وظهر ه
God knows I'm never going to read Das Kapital (even if it is the wacky Gothic piece of literature that Francis Wheen tells me that it is), so this little book-biography is pretty nifty. I especially enjoyed reading about Karl Marx being an epic procrastinator.
Leyla Ahmed
May 09, 2014 Leyla Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marx, Marx, Marx.

Francis Wheen provides a brief insight into your workings (Das Kapital) for those unlikely to be able to finish the volumes in this lifetime (sorry - quite frankly Marx those books look daunting for your average soul). whilst it is 'short and sweet', it does however still happen to facilitate the 'seed of revolution' within me.

oh Marx, you are indeed a farrago of misinterpretations and misrepresentations - understood largely as a rigid materialist theorist however the grace in
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Francis James Baird Wheen (born 22 January 1957) is a British journalist, writer and broadcaster.

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.[citation needed] He is a member of the 'soap' side of the Wheen family, whose family business
More about Francis Wheen...

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