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The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,794 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, a political economist, and a revolutionary. Marx addressed a wide range of issues; he is most famous for his analysis of history, summed up in the opening line of the introduction to the Communist Manifesto (1848): "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. " Marx believed that c ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published February 13th 2009 by Dodo Press (first published 1852)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Anthony D Buckley
Just the best piece of political analysis ever written.
Gregory Sadler
I'd like to specify before launching into my review of this excellent work of analysis that I'm neither a Marxist nor even someone on the Left (though I once was). I do still grant and appreciate the role of economic conditions and relations in conditioning what occurs in politics, culture, law, and religion, but I don't see the economic sphere as determining, or even as predominating, the other dimensions of human existence.

That's actually one of the lessons that comes through in this brilliant
Aug 25, 2007 Jules rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: communists and socialists
This piece is a demonstration of a social scientist's theoretical evolution over time. For my first couple years in college, I was unsure of my theoretical standing. On my good days, I believe in the good of humanity and anarchy in its true sense; on bad days, I know people are terrible and am a communist even though democracy is still probably the most plausible (if it actually worked).

Then I began reading Marx fully, not just the required segments. I realized that this piece is the mile-marker
tom bomp
Idiosyncratic and often tough to follow but ultimately valuable as an example of Marx's historical method. Sometimes loses focus or doesn't really make itself clear - there were quite a few sentences that seemed to be missing a clause, a few times he describes a class acting against its class interest as if it's normal, some other stuff I should have noted down. The last couple sections are the best, I think, although I might just have been in a better mood reading them. He often assumes knowled ...more
Très éclairant sur une période de l'histoire de France que je ne connaissais que fort mal. Karl Marx raconte avec beaucoup de détails les différentes étapes de la prise du pouvoir par Napoléon III, et la chute de la seconde république née de la révolution de 1848. Sans vouloir rien retirer aux mérites de l'auteur, j'ai un peu regretté que les actions des protagonistes ne soient éclairées que du point de vue de l’intérêt. L'indignation, pierre sur laquelle s'aiguise la vertu, et parfois très part ...more
David Nichols
It's probably not a good idea to attempt this long essay unless one is A) comfortable with the author's heavy, Germanic prose style, and B) familiar with the history of the short-lived, unlamented Second French Republic. Assuming both of these conditions pertain, though, the Eighteenth Brumaire is well worth the time invested in it; it contains some of Marx's bitchiest invective and concludes with a startling observation about the first French Revolution. (Namely, that its winners were not the b ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Trevor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-theory
I really struggled with this - but I had downloaded it from and it didn't really have an introduction or notes - I think Marx is making many very clever asides and observations throughout which, due to my complete lack of knowledge of post-Nepoleon French politics, barely made a whizzing sound as they flew straight over my head. I'll have to track down a penguin edition of this or something that explains all his jokes.
Bernardo Kaiser
Jan 26, 2016 Bernardo Kaiser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some eerie similarities with the current state of events in Brazil
Feb 08, 2016 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
O livro todo trata da trajetória vivida pela França até o golpe de Estado realizado por Carlos Luís Napoleão Bonaparte, o Luís Bonaparte em 2 de Dezembro de 1851. Nessa obra, Marx mostra que a história tende a se "repetir" - usando Hegel - e acrescenta ser uma vez como tragédia e outra como farsa. Aqui, ele se refere principalmente ao "feito" de Luís Bonaparte.

Marx, através de uma análise de toda a sociedade e contexto histórico franceses, vai explicar que esse "fim" - o golpe - já era previsto,
Oct 24, 2015 Ryan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
Turgid, shrill and unsubstantiated.

Marx writes as if he knows the precise goals and conditions of every "class" in France. Any exceptions to his rules are quickly dismissed as the "slum" variant of that particular class ("slum-proletariat", "slum-farmers", etc). He also believes that the bourgeoisie are primarily responsible for Louis Napoleon's coup because of their parliamentary infighting. Certainly one can point to disagreements between political factions (Legitimists, Orleanists, Republican
Jul 22, 2014 Kai rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, society, politics
For a Marxist probably every word of the master counts and thus every work is significant. However, there's no much use of reading this little book for non-Marxists nowadays. You get a little history lesson about the French revolution of 1848-1851, yes, and it seems treated in a rather fair way, though naturally also biased. So, if you're into French history, you'll probably find less biased accounts of those events. As for the political commentary I always wondered if Marx's need to emphasize c ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Rdt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This essay is a nonstop relentless attack on Napoleon III and the thousand clowns of French politics who fumbled their way along after the revolution of 1848 and unwittingly laid the groundwork for Napoleon III to seize power. Having just finished it, I am exhausted. I feel like someone has been beating me about the head and shoulders. But underneath all of the invective, there is some serious and smart analysis. Marx was a brilliant historian, who has a lot to say about this pivotal period of F ...more
Oct 16, 2015 Leonardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francia
Creo que lo hubiera disfrutado mucho más si tuviera un mejor conocimiento sobre la historia de Francia durante los siglos XVIII y XIX. Creo que es un ensayo de teoría política muy bueno, pero no llegué a sacarle jugo porque las discusiones en las que anda me resultaron bastante ajenas, entonces me costó hacer el link con alguna cosa que me sea más familiar. Muy bueno leer a Marx haciendo más "opinión" que "teoría".

"Tampoco debe creerse que los representantes democráticos son todos shopkeepers o
Daniel Wright
I have no idea how accurate the history of the events described in this book actually is. The analysis is extremely dense and difficult to follow, but this is slightly beside the point. This book is an attempt to put into practice the principle stated so famously at the beginning of The Communist Manifesto: 'The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.'

The problem is, that this is nonsense. While it is certainly the case that class antagonism can be a driving f
Ali Reda
Apr 03, 2015 Ali Reda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The parliamentary republic, in its struggle against the revolution, found itself compelled to strengthen the means and the centralization of governmental power with repressive measures. All revolutions perfected this machine instead of breaking it. The parties, which alternately contended for domination, regarded the possession of this huge state structure as the chief spoils of the victor".

Karl Marx wrote this book, on an entirely different event 52 years later, It dealt with the 2 December 18
Vittorio Ducoli
Mar 16, 2013 Vittorio Ducoli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Attualità di Marx

L'altro giorno, 14 marzo, ricorreva il 130 anniversario della morte di Karl Marx.
Per puro caso, nello stesso giorno ho finito di leggere Il 18 brumaio di Luigi Bonaparte, che ritengo uno dei testi fondamentali per addentrarsi nelle idee di questo grandissimo pensatore e per apprezzarne appieno l'attualità, a dispetto della vulgata interessata che vorrebbe il pensiero marxiano solo un retaggio del passato.
Un primo elemento a favore di questo testo è il tema. Non si tratta di un
Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Cronaca serrata e analisi illuminante del processo di dissoluzione che colpì la Seconda Repubblica francese (nata nel 1848) e ne provocò la morte sotto il colpo di Stato del dicembre 1851 di Luigi Bonaparte (l’impero sarà proclamato solo nel 1852).
Marx descrive le forze in campo – “partito dell’ordine” (monarchici legittimisti e orleanisti: repubblicani controvoglia), borghesi repubblicani “puri”, Montagna democratica, proletariato… –, i loro conflitti, le fughe in avanti, i voltafaccia, le alle
This is a political analysis of the stages of the French revolution of 1848. The revolution was initiated in February 1848 by the industrial capitalists who were in rebellion against the financial capitalists. The workers rose up in revolt as the political dam burst open. The proletariat of Paris was the most radical element of the revolution but their uprising was crushed during June 1848. After the workers were crushed the revolution went through various stages where more and more right wing e ...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Il n’y a aucun doute, si la doctrine matérialiste de Marx ne peut être appliquée partout sans susciter quelques doutes, sa puissance heuristique s’impose lorsqu’il est question d’expliquer les variations dans la qualité de son écriture. En effet, alors que ses analyses faites en France font état d’un esprit dialectique très fin et à l’ironie fertile, celles qu’il produira dans la misère à Londres montrent toujours une intelligence exceptionnelle, mais leur style est désormais d’une lourdeur asso ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An excellent work by Marx as journalist/historian; a nice companion piece to "The Class Struggles in France, 1848-1850" and a bit more entertaining, though it lags in the middle and suffers from dryness at times. It contains interesting political musings and some very valuable and still relevant insights on class and politics (particularly in Part VII). I would give it a 4.5 stars if I could (this option is not available), but opted for 5 stars instead of 4 due to some very valuable ideas and so ...more
Sep 12, 2008 Cns rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
From Rossana Rossanda's (founder of Il Manifesto) memoir--"I don't know how I came to the conclusion that it was the Communists who were most sure of what they were doing--or who told me, 'But Bafi is a Communist.' I was so ignorant that I marched straight up to him, between classes...'Someone said you are a Communist.' 'What are you looking for?' I told him about the leaflets I'd seen, about being confused, not knowing. 'Read these books. Come back when you have done so.' I ran to the railway s ...more
Feb 20, 2010 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 18th Brumaire is off the hook; in the key of multiplicity where previous work was in the key of singularity or duality; in the key of tragedy whereas the rest of the work is comedy; in the key of rage instead of science; in the key of history rather than structure. Yes, the relations of production, yes class interests still run the game, but doesn't it seem like the political sphere is its own beast in this story? Don't you get the sense that the struggle between capital/proletariat only hap ...more
Czarny Pies
Oct 05, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to be fashionably knowledgeable about Marx.
Recommended to Czarny by: David Galbraith, U of T, English Department
Shelves: european-history
Anyone reading this book is forced to acknowledge Marx's enormous comic talent has a writer. In this dazzling piece he shows how Napoleon III's successful coup d'etat of December 2, 1851 proves that cognac and sausages will almost triumph over bourgeois ideology as wielded by Lamartine and de Tocqueville.
Ahmad Sharabiani
Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte, Karl Marx
عنوان: هجدهم برومر لوئی بناپارت؛ اثر: کارل مارکس؛ ترجمه: محمد پورهرمزان؛ مشخصات نشر: بیجا، بینام،، مشخصات ظاهری: ص، عکس، نمونه، چاپ دوم، فرانسه -- تاریخ-- کودتا، م. انقلاب فوریه، م. جمهوری دوم، - م.
Mar 14, 2014 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece of historical writing, yet does suffer somewhat from being written in an old-world German professorial style. Engels complained about this, and he was right. Nonetheless, the author articulates some very important lessons from history, including warnings about the danger of demogogues.
Jun 21, 2015 Sunil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
For those not conversed in French history it was quite difficult to follow what exactly happened from Marx's account of it. I suggest you google the coupe first before you read this. Similar to the communist manifesto in that Marx criticises things but does not go into the depth that you expect from him if you have read Capital.
Sheldon L
Overall, a very dry read. It's mostly newspaper articles that Marx had written to cover the second French revolution. His detailed analysis of the tactics of Louis Bonaparte are very interesting in that Marx illuminates how centralized power has created a monster in political process that is highly tedious and difficult to manoeuvre.

Overall, though it is a tedious read peppered every now and then with interesting insight into how complex political systems always hold pregnant within it the possi
Jan 16, 2016 Tobias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: old-books
Marx at his most readable. Useful reflection on the forces that shape events.
Ernesto Pacios
Jun 18, 2015 Ernesto Pacios rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Estupenda descripción de los mecanismos del poder autoritario.
Sinan Öner
very interesting history book.
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(Arabic: كارل ماركس)
In 1818, Karl Marx, descended from a long line of rabbis, was born in Prussian Rhineland. Marx's' father converted to Protestantism shortly before Karl's birth. Educated at the Universities of Bonn, Jena, and Berlin, Marx founded the Socialist newspaper Vorwarts in 1844 in Paris. After being expelled from France at the urging of the Prussian government, which "banished" Marx in
More about Karl Marx...

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Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.” 246 likes
“Man makes his own history, but he does not make it out of the whole cloth; he does not make it out of conditions chosen by himself, but out of such as he finds close at hand.” 5 likes
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