Widely debated since its publication in 1848, The Communist Manifesto is one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Presenting an analytical approach to the problems of capitalism and the resulting class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the text lays out the rationale and goals of communism as conceived by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
This edition of The Communist Manifesto is based on the English edition of 1888. In addition, this collection includes the following essays and writings by Marx, translated by H. J. Stenning: "A Criticism of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right", "On the King of Prussia and Social Reform", "Moralizing Criticism and Critical Morality: A Polemic Against Karl Heinzen", "Proudhon", "French Materialism", and "The English Revolution".
Public Domain (P)2011 Tantor
As a recording of the Communist Manifesto, this is excellent, if overpriced. The narrator did a fine job. However, the "Other Writings" are a somewhat esoteric selection of Marx's lesser-known articles and essays. Of some interest to the more dedicated Marx students, but of little use as a general introduction to his thinking. It would have been better to bundle the Manifesto with the introductory "Wage Labour and Capital", selections from "The 18th Brumaire", "Capital", etc.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
As long as I remember he was only 30, I can forgive the overzealous, overeducated tone of these writings. It surprises and saddens me that he didn't outgrow some of his early ideas with the perspective of age and experience. That said, these are pieces that have stood the test of time, for whatever reason.
I confess I am at a loss to understand why Marx is still held in high regard in certain quarters. Perhaps his serious writings are more carefully structured. The pieces presented here are more in the way of periodical summations. Most of them are commentaries on current events or critiques of other writings by his contemporaries. It is difficult to properly evaluate them without a deep knowledge of the things he is critiquing. Time and again he will repeat a catch phrase without ever getting around to defining precisely what he means by it. So many of these terms have gotten muddied in the intervening 170 years that it makes the problem that much harder. Perhaps this is not a good choice for an audio book given the need for such annotations and footnoting. So many of his premises are simply taken for granted. So many of his "obvious" conclusions seem completely arbitrary. I waited for the chain of reasoning that led him to his conclusions but it never came. Occasionally, he would acknowledge an opposing viewpoint, and even offer to explore it, but after a token gesture in that direction he would say something like "but enough of that" and go back to preaching to the converted. As a newspaperman he certainly has a certain flair for rhetoric. He has a fondness for inversion formations such as "he does not say what he means, and he means what he does not say." That, by the way, is from his critique of Karl Heinzen. I have to say that most of the charges he levels at Heinzen apply to his own works as well.
Mercifully, the book is short, as otherwise it would simply be too frustrating to have so many questions left unexplained and unanswered. It is extremely ironic that someone who writes so penetratingly on the topics he addresses is somehow unable to carry that through to a logical conclusion.
One eerie aspect of this audio book is that the reader chooses to read it with a cheerful tone of voice, as though he were reading about kittens and puppies instead of hard-hitting political commentary.
This book makes great platitudes to why people without limitations are capable of great levels of self-elevations, that they are not capable of controlling. How people are not able to control their own lives and futures. What a sad and arrogant way of thinking. That people are just a herd of children that need to be controlled and held down. It is a wonder that this way of thinking could have ever made it anywhere. - I think that everyone should read this book to be aware of how to recognize the limiting desires of others.
6 out of 10. Only because he (Marx) makes so many quirky assumptions about humanity. Overall the manifesto is ridiculous. His assumptions are way off the mark and it amazes me that so many grasp hold as though it might be possible to achive success through his ideals. I had to listen to it and make up my own mind. Marx is a nut. Period.
Not really. This was enough.
Not a wast of time. His utter infatuation with the bourgeoisie is apparent. A good read or in this case listen if one wishes to expand ones grasp of where communism places its origins.
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