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The Communist Manifesto (Great Ideas)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  88,856 ratings  ·  3,970 reviews
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin (first published February 21st 1848)
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Haritharan Suppaiah I feel very sad when young readers like you only look into a book like this superficially. That's what happens when you have to read a book rather…moreI feel very sad when young readers like you only look into a book like this superficially. That's what happens when you have to read a book rather than wanting to read it. Reading a material of this nature you need some amount of maturity. Maturity comes from what you read and there is also some element of culture and our basic fundamentals. Before reading it once and giving your views on a serious work of intellect like this, I would recommend reading who Karl Marx was and please do include Engles, and also the political history of Europe at the the time it was written. I may not agree totally with its implementation in today's world but knowing the history of the person who wrote it and the history around the time it was written will help you seen the meaning of the author.
You can never fill a cup which is already full. Keep all your preoccupied thoughts elsewhere before starting a masterpiece like this. (less)
Joseph This is a good book to read about Marxism. It shows lies of how everyone is equal and how idealistic this system is. You should read this book, but…moreThis is a good book to read about Marxism. It shows lies of how everyone is equal and how idealistic this system is. You should read this book, but know that this system can never work(less)

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3.54  · 
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 ·  88,856 ratings  ·  3,970 reviews


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Jeremy
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who wonder why Communism fails
Long overdue update (2013): I read this book five years ago and in almost every respect, I have mellowed considerably.

You can read my review below. It's unchanged. You can read the comments below that. Also unchanged.

I never seriously expected anyone to read this review, much less love or hate it so strongly. I am not apologizing for my view of the book or Marx. He put his entire life into this slender and influential book, and I respect that. I understand a bit more about where he was coming fr
...more
Jason
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anarchists!!
Read this and understand why your imperialist capitalist government spent the better part of a century playing hot potato with ICBMs, invading and incinerating peaceful, peasant countries, and making your mom and dad piss themselves under school desks.

The elite were scared shitless and by no means would they allow their slaves, errr labor force, a fraction of freedom or equality or means to resist. The 60 year propaganda campaign against Communism and the virtual disappearance of strong labor u
...more
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
Communism doesn’t work. Its ideals are perfectly understandable, justifiable even, but the way it seeks to attain them, that’s just terrible. In reality communist policy falls apart or isn’t fully followed.

The driving force is to achieve a classless rather than class based society. Sounds good on paper doesn’t it? But in order to achieve such a thing, the manifesto proposes a revolution that will wipe out private property. This is more than following the march of history. Mankind has seen count
...more
Darwin8u
“Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.”
― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto

description

Vol 20 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. To be clear, I'm not giving this 5-stars because I'm a Communist just waiting start a revolution (not that I'm against a good revolution here or there)*. I do come from a religious tradition that experimented in the 1800s with ideas of consecration and communalism. They called it the United Order. Even wit
...more
Traveller
This tract by Marx and Engels is too enormous in implication to review fully in the small little space that GR allows, so what I'll do for now is take extracts from it and comment on them, piece by piece.

Per the Maifesto:"
"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the bourgeois
...more
Barry Pierce
What can I say? Marx was right. Almost.
J.G. Keely
It is an error to assume that the problem with humanity is an inability to recognize our own problems. While it's true that we constantly look outside for answers, this is just because we are unhappy with the answers we have. We know that success requires hard work and knowledge, but we want something easier. We will accept an easier answer even when it isn't true. We are not motivated by what is true or likely, but by frightening or enticing stories.

We are driven away from the necessary and the
...more
Xio
May 07, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manifesto
Its awful fun to grow up marxist in the US. You get to go to meetings where you, as a kid, soon realize there's no point in paying attention so off you go with the other rowdy tots into the ghetto to make trouble with whatever you find to hand.

And you get to read this novella and if you're bored and underchallenged but over bothered you can begin to argue against american capitalist imperialism and the growth of consumerist doctrine using your new found propaganda skills til you bait a teacher i
...more
Rachel
One word review: disgusting.

There is so much I could say, and there isn't the space to say it in a review... Where do I even begin?

For starters, the book began on a whining note. There were basically two main thrusts: first that free trade was so unfair to the poor proletariat; second, that the communistic movement had only the interests of the proletariat at heart. It was unhindered by nationality or any other interests and existed solely to make the working class successful.

What started out
...more
Joseph
2011 thoughts

A very important book at the time it was written. Some would conclude that it was the threat of the Communist that reformed the system to allow for leisure time for the working class. Organized labor reformed American business and transformed Europe. Americans still greatly oppose communism/socialism in all it forms (except for social security, medicare, public roads and parks, pork projects that benefit their neighborhoods, OSHA, veteran affairs......).


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...more
Fei Fei
The terms Marxism and Communism are so misused nowadays that it is difficult to hold an intellectual conversation with people about this deeply fascinating political and economic theorist. It is partly the fault of the school curriculum, I fear. For whenever schools teach Marx, they inevitably always start with this book, the Communist Manifesto. But this is precisely the worst place to begin understanding Marxist philosophy. The Communist Manifesto is an anomaly in Marx's work. Strictly speakin ...more
Steve Evans
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
No one should feel the need to agree with this short polemic to realise that it is one of the most important books ever written. It should be required reading in schools really, but anyone who hasn't read it should nip out and get a copy straight away, and put her or his nose in it. Most though not all of Marxism is summed up in it, and unless one is really dedicated, very little else is needed for an understanding of "Marxism". I was one of those people and have read a lot of Marx and Engels an ...more
Luís C.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luís by: Felisberto
Very valuable for the political formation of any citizen, even if the reader does not agree with the foundations of communism, the Communist Manifesto is nothing more than a meaning of spreading the opinions, goals and tendencies of this ideology, linked to the era in which the authors of the work lived, that is, the end of the nineteenth century.
Several themes are covered in the book, among them we can mention:

1. The eternal class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat;

2. The va
...more
Riku Sayuj

The history of all hitherto existing society* is the history of class struggles.

* That is, all written history.



+++

We read the same written history and read it as progress, as stories, etc. The real history, on the other hand, is something else. Played out differently. Yeah, that is the catch.

This was a reading of only the bare text (along with the many prefaces!). It was very powerful and I am now reading the Penguin edition with the really long introduction next. Will write more about this imp
...more
Rebecca
I read this on the train to Manchester, appropriate reading when approaching one of the UK’s biggest centers of Victorian industry and the place where Marx and Engels met to discuss ideas in the mid-1840s. Marx was the chief author of this 50-page pamphlet, first published in London in 1848. It had never occurred to me that it was first issued in German, Marx’s native language. Like Darwin’s Origin of Species, another seminal Victorian text, this has so many familiar lines and wonderful metaphor ...more
Riku Sayuj

An introduction to a historical work (or any work for that matter) should not be a thorough deconstruction, undertaken from an ideologically opposite standpoint. The reader should be given an introduction and in fact (as much as possible) a defense of the work. This introduction sets out to do the opposite.

I don't have a problem with Marx being critiqued but it should have been done in an independent book. This is like making a reader buy something for the value he attributes to the main work a
...more
Belhor
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This of course, like many other ideologies, looks good on paper.
Jonfaith
It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

What can or should
...more
Ben Loory
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
wow, this was just amazing. i expected it to be long and dry and boring but instead it's like a pamphlet, it's a stirring infomercial, and the writing is incredible, like walt whitman or tennyson's "ulysses"-level rhetoric. i mean when you get to the list of the changes they actually want to make, you go OH JEEZ NO I DON'T THINK THAT'S GONNA WORK!!! but you can't help but see how this would've moved people to action (and probably still continues to do so to this day). it's electrifying and mesme ...more
Rupert Dreyfus
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
Whether you disagree with Marx or not, this is an important book. It was part of a wider debate back when the idea of revolutionary strategy was taken seriously by the intellectuals of the day. I personally favour the principles of anarcho-syndicalism as being the path towards a freer, more democratic and peaceful world. I also think manifestos such as this lead to dogma rather than allowing revolutionary activity to be experimental and spontaneous.

That said Marx is an important figure in the de
...more
Ana
I'm not entirely sure how you're supposed to rate the book that inspired so many dickheads to nurse grandiose ideas of taking over the world, but I'll play it safe and give it a neutral three stars. I didn't read this for pleasure, but for knowledge, as I wanted to see what are the root ideas to what we now,sneeringly, call "communism". I am not surprised I found it at times, very logical, and at other times very much on point - after all, some of the communist ideas are natural developments, bu ...more
Greg Brozeit
The most boring and most interesting thing I've ever read. The most profound and most ridiculous thing I've ever read. The most frustrating and most coherent thing I've ever read. The most far-seeing and most fantasy-derived thing I've ever read. But I'm really glad I read it, occasionally re-read it, and am influenced by it, good or bad.

In my opinion, much of the Communist Manifesto is a restatement of Luke 6:31. No matter if you think this is important or tripe, if you've actually read it, the
...more
sologdin
A bit different purpose here, in comparison with the Norton Critical edition of the same basic text. Handsome hardbound, 150th anniversary, not quite a coffee table edition (no pictures), &c.

Introduction by Hobsbawm is cool. He notes that the manifesto of the ‘communist party’ refers to no actually existing organization (12) but that its “political rhetoric has an almost biblical force,” “compelling power as literature” (15). Authors
did not describe the world as it had already been transfo
...more
Jason
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread this recently and basically yup.
Adam Ford
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting insight into the original idea of communism. It all sounded so great Marxy, didn't it? Shame about the millions upon millions of deaths that ensued, you bastard!!

I'd recommend this to all the anti-capitalists who dream of 'a change' in modern society. Be careful what you wish for; this manifesto was extremely well-intended.

Seriously though, this should be on everyone's bucket list. Especially if you have a passing interest in political history.
Nick
Rough, muscular verses from Mr. Marx over here. There are a bunch of good one liners in this well written work. Most of the ideas in it rub me the wrong way, but it explains the theory's political side pretty well. Even this would be a poor introduction to Marxism though. I remember trying to read this without any background knowledge and it came off as bald assertions. The lack of much economics in here sort of limits its explanatory power.

The most interesting part of this is part III wherein h
...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Nov 12, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political
Like many people (at least of my generation) I got this out of the library when I was in high school. You can't describe this as "good" or "a good read" etc. I would however recommend reading this with an open and thoughtful mind. I don't see how any thinking person can read this without seeing the logical fallacies.

What is presented in this book is more properly called Marxist Communism or Marxism. But with only a little knowledge of history it is obvious that wherever "classic" Communism or Ma
...more
Mehrsa
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just re-read this for a project and what really stuck out at me was how sarcastic it was! Ha Marx and Engle were the original ironic hipsters
Hind
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains."

Not for a day have I supposed that I could be arrantly overwhelmed and utterly touched by a public declaration of policy and aims to the point of wanting to read it and wanting to comprehend the layers through which Marx and Engels were compelled to write such work.
I was, before this juncture, one of those who thought that everything said about Marx was factual. That his vision of communism was defective, superfluous and that he poses as a
...more
Vaishali
Oct 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: global-dynamics
An outdated, one-sided, highly irresponsible book, and one that the 99% still use to vilify the rich.

Marx/Engels have only 2 points holding true in today's democratized internet economy:
----------------------------------------------
1. "The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe."

2. "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physic
...more
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Marx: German white male racist inspired Hitler etc? 4 25 Mar 07, 2019 09:59PM  
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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 absentia, Marx stud ...more
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”
346 likes
“A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter; Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French radicals and German police spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its opponents in power? Where the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be in itself a power.

II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.”
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