‘It was a sweet finish after the bitter pills of floggings and bullets with which these same governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class risings’.
The Communist Manifesto is, perhaps surprisingly, a most engaging and accessible work, containing even the odd shaft of humour in this translation by Samuel Moore for the 1888 English edition. It is, of course, an essential introduction to the thoughts and theories of Karl Marx and his collaborator and editor Friedrich Engels and therefore to the development of communism.
This brief but iconoclastic work, essentially a pamphlet, covers the history of the bourgeoisie, aspects of ‘class struggle’ with descriptions and analyses of numerous workers’ parties and movements up to the 1840s. It predicts and elaborates upon the defeat of capitalism and communism’s ultimate global victory. Written over 150 years ago it pulsates with energy, insight and contemporary relevance, ending with the rallying cry, ‘Workers of the World Unite.’ Greg Wagland, a history graduate and enthusiast, brings a certain freshness and energy to his reading of this far from dusty tome. A word about the narrator: born in Oxford, England, Greg Wagland is a classically trained actor, who attended St. Andrews University and drama school. He has worked in television, radio and theatre appearing in productions with the likes of Richard E. Grant, Penelope Keith, Bill Pertwee, Matt Smith, Roger Allam, Liza Goddard, Michael Denison, Dulcie Gray and Lindsay Duncan. He has recorded over 50 audiobooks, a number of those for the well-respected Talking Book Service of the RNIB. Now for Magpie Audio he is putting together an eclectic collection of classic fiction and non-fiction works and is always happy to receive suggestions for new titles.
Public Domain (P)2011 Magpie Audio
"Our narrator has little to add, except his own words and in this capacity Greg Wagland has his work cut out. The trick with a reading of this kind is to make a clear distinction between which character has what voice, otherwise things could get complicated." (The Guardian)
"Greg Wagland’s crescendo-free rendition allows this brilliantly structured novel to speak for itself." (The Spectator)
the only redeeming factor here is the narrator does a good job. there is no towering intellectual thought here. in short, marx states that capitalism does the most good for the most people. somehow, that is why capitalism is evil. he proposes that if you just give up all notions of self interest and submit your will to the designs of some nebulous central planner, you would be happier. it boggles my mind that so many people have gotten anything of substance out of this book. by all means, listen to it; but first be sure to get an accurate understanding of what life was really like before the industrial revolution and the invention of the middle class.
The premises of his argument are fictitious, and his conclusions have been observably false over the past 170 years. Far more literature has been written to rationally refute this pamphlet than is necessary.
The accent and tone of the performer seemed to underscore the ridiculousness of the work, although that is my personal impression.
The work is important in 2 regards I can see.
1) Marx verbalized and captured the sentiments of people in his era and country and others, however misguided these sentiments are. He codified a language to describe his system of beliefs that would become widely accepted.
2) This work is a template for all kinds of political hate-mongering that has proved to be a very effective formula to all kinds of propagandists attempting to spew their malcontented feelings while side-stepping the underlying irrationality of their claims.
im a free market capitalist but just wanted hear the polar opposite form. the ideology fails to take into consideration differences in culture, eduacation, religion, ambition to be better and many other things. great performance though.
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