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Karl Marx has ratings and 69 reviews. William2 said: Excellent biography. Herr Marx was a nasty motherfucker. If you did not agree with him, he vilif. In this magisterial biography of Karl Marx, “likely to be definitive for many years to come” (John Gray, New York Review of Books), historian Jonathan Sperber. This is not a book about how Karl Marx changed the world. It is not about the revolutions and crimes committed in his name in the 20th century.

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The reader in many instances becomes more enlightened than Lenin ever could have been, not to mention Kropotkin o Excellent biography.

It also of course talks about the man, the friend of Engels, the husband and the father.

Karl Marx: a Nineteenth-Century Life by Jonathan Sperber – review

AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. For decades on end, he continued to predict that the revolution that would overthrow capitalism was just around the corner. We meet a Marx who is brilliant polemicist but also frustratingly hypocritical at critical times during his lifetime.

As a Marxist, it is a very demanding intellectual exercise to read Sperber’s iconoclastic account of Marx’s life. Aside from the literature Sperber mentions, there has recently also been a revision of the history of socialist thought.

I cannot imagine that things were so clear at the time, but the way the book is written it seems that history could never have been otherwise. And surely the existence or otherwise of descendants of Marx is a point of interest to his biographer.

This isn’t a breezy read like a Claire Tomalin bio, but it’s an engrossing account of Marx, and an attempt to remove him from iconic status and place him back in his nineteenth century context. Open Preview See a Problem? Marx felt that the death of capitalism was unalterably foretold in the falling rate of profit in any given industry under capitalism—and idea set forth by Adam Smith, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mills.


Sperber does not really discuss these questions. Jun 13, Naeem rated it it was amazing. The industrial revolution moved the poor to a significant degree out of the countryside and into the cities to work in the factories.

Showing of mzrx reviews.

Although there are some very basic elements of his economic positions the essence of the book is on the life of Marx. Konathan me just explain what I was trying to do in those two chapters. While the associations of Marx and the Soviet Union might be waning, other presentist invocations have replaced them. Sperber places Marx in his Nineteenth Century context. It repeats much information presented earlier in the book and adds little to the argument.

If the breakdown in consensus is this complete, where to start but with the details.

Karl Marx | W. W. Norton & Company

All this comes alive in a writing style that had me turning the pages — I read the pages in a few days and then immediately purchased the book. I disagree with some of the reviewers who find jobathan discussions on political economy less than satisfying. Despite the highly tedious middle part, this book is definitely worth 4 stars.

One of Adorno’s last works is a zperber of aphorisms called Minima Moralia. A supremely lucid biography of Marx that takes as its central thesis the fact that all his innovations were maid in the context of now largely forgotten nineteenth century machinations. They would write letters back and forth excitedly about each recession in the United States and each crop failure in Russia and each drop in the stock market in England.

He also points out that the account is based on one single source: Marx’s economic conceptions, however, had found a home in the burgeoning early twentieth-century socialist labor movement, as part of that movement’s more general rejection of the ideas of the bourgeois society it criticized and rejected.


Sperber wants to demystify Marx and in order to do so he draws on all sorts of detailed stories and expert insights.

Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life

That history in a nutshell is being the offspring of German speaking, Finishing this book, it was inevitable that I would think of Walter Benjamin, A Critical Life, having read it not long before. He has written extensively on the social and political history of nineteenth-century Europe. The author says capitalism failed to collapse of dwindling profit because of constant new industries.

Sperber’s intention is to treat Marx, as the subtitle indicates, as a nineteenth century figure, in the context of nineteenth century thought and events. By contrast, Marx did not view capitalism and imperialism as integrally linked.

: Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life (): Jonathan Sperber: Books

Dec 22, Ben rated it really liked it. Without a doubt Marx remains an iconic and mythologised figure, bogeyman for kzrl, prophet for others.

Indeed, more often than not all sides in these debates have been able to find quotes from the masters in their favor, which should be telling. English Choose a language for shopping. The book is best when it is debunking the larger-than-life mythology that surrounds his life and distorts his political ideology. Liveright; 1 edition March 10, Language: Its bible, of course, was Das Kapital — although few cadres actually bothered to read it.

Add all three to Cart Add all three to List. A well-researched albeit slightly overly academic chronological examination of the life of Karl Marx. And given my own predilections, I feel like both of those may find their truest expression in historical fiction, or adaptations of their lives.