SHORTLISTED FOR THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY 2017
'A deeply original and illuminating account of Marx's journey through the intellectual history of the nineteenth century... a profound reappraisal and a gripping read' Christopher Clark, author of The Sleepwalkers
As the nineteenth century unfolded, its inhabitants had to come to terms with an unparalleled range of political, economic, religious and intellectual challenges. Distances shrank, new towns sprang up, and ingenious inventions transformed the industrial landscape. It was an era dominated by new ideas about God, human capacities, industry, revolution, empires and political systems - and above all, the shape of the future.
One of the most distinctive and arresting contributions to this debate was made by Karl Marx, the son of a Jewish convert in the Rhineland and a man whose entire life was devoted to making sense of the hopes and fears of the nineteenth century world. Gareth Stedman Jones's impressive biography explores how Marx came to his revolutionary ideas in an age of intellectual ferment, and the impact they had on his times. In a world where so many things were changing so fast, would the coming age belong to those enthralled by the events which had brought this world into being, or to those who feared and loathed it?
This remarkable book allows the reader to understand as never before the world of ideas which shaped Marx's world - and in turn made Marx shape our own.
A rousing call to arms whose influence is still felt today, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' The Communist Manifesto is edited with an introduction by Gareth Stedman-Jones in Penguin Classics.
Marx and Engels's revolutionary summons to the working classes, The Communist Manifesto is one of the most important political theories ever formulated. After four years of collaboration, they produced an incisive account of their idea of Communism, in which they envisage a society without classes, private property or a state, arguing that the exploitation of industrial workers will eventually lead to a revolution in which Capitalism is overthrown. This vision provided the theoretical basis of political systems in Russia, China, Cuba and Eastern Europe, affecting the lives of millions. The Communist Manifesto still remains a landmark text: a work that continues to influence and provoke debate on capitalism and class.
Gareth Stedman Jones's extensive and scholarly introduction provides an unique assessment of the place of The Communist Manifesto in history, and its continuing relevance as a depiction of global capitalism. This edition reproduces Samuel Moore's translation of 1888 and contains a guide to further reading, notes and an index.
Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Trier, Germany and studied law at Bonn and Berlin. He settled in London, where he studied economics and wrote the first volume of his major work, Das Kapital (1867, with two further volumes in 1884 and 1894). He is buried in Highgate Cemetery, London.
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), as well as his collaboration with Marx, was the author of The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), based on personal observations and research.
If you enjoyed The Communist Manifesto, you might like Marx's Capital, also available in Penguin Classics.
'The words of the Communist Manifesto flare like the fiery writing on the wall above the crumbling bastions of capitalist society: socialism or barbarism!'
Gareth Stedman Jones is currently Professor of the History of Ideas at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge and taught at the university for many years, becoming Professor of Political Science in 1997. He is the author of Outcast London, Languages of Class and An End to Poverty? as well as being the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of The Communist Manifesto.