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Capital: Critique of Political Economy v. 1 (Classics S.) [Paperback]

Karl Marx , Ernest Mandel , Ben Fowkes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Dec 1990 Classics (Book 1)

A landmark work in the understanding of capitalism, bourgeois society and the economics of class conflict, Karl Marx's Capital is translated by Ben Fowkes with an introduction by Ernest Mandel in Penguin Classics.

One of the most notorious works of modern times, as well as one of the most influential, Capital is an incisive critique of private property and the social relations it generates. Living in exile in England, where this work was largely written, Marx drew on a wide-ranging knowledge of its society to support his analysis and generate fresh insights. Arguing that capitalism would create an ever-increasing division in wealth and welfare, he predicted its abolition and replacement by a system with common ownership of the means of production. Capital rapidly acquired readership among the leaders of social democratic parties, particularly in Russia and Germany, and ultimately throughout the world, to become a work described by Marx's friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels as 'the Bible of the Working Class'

In his introduction, Ernest Mandel illuminates a revolutionary theory whose impact on the turbulent events of the twentieth century has become ever more apparent.

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was born in Trier, Germany and studied law at Bonn and Berlin. In 1848, with Freidrich Engels, he finalized the Communist Manifesto. 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.

If you enjoyed Capital, you might like Marx and Engels' The Communist Manifesto, also available in Penguin Classics.


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Capital: Critique of Political Economy v. 1 (Classics S.) + Capital: Critique of Political Economy v. 2 (Penguin Classics) + Capital: Critique of Political Economy v. 3 (Penguin Classics S.)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (6 Dec 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445688
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 7.8 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Karl Marx was born at Trier in 1818 of a German-Jewish family converted to Christianity. As a student in Bonn and Berlin he was influenced by Hegel's dialectic, but he later reacted against idealist philosophy and began to develop his theory of historical materialism. He related the state of society to its economic foundations and mode of production, and recommended armed revolution on the part of the proletariat. In Paris in 1844 Marx met Friedrich Engels, with whom he formed a life-long partnership. Together, they prepared the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) as a statement of the Communist League's policy.

In 1848 Marx returned to Germany and took an active part in the unsuccessful democratic revolution. The following year he arrived in England as a refugee and lived in London until his death in 1883. Helped financially by Engels, Marx and his family nevertheless lived in great poverty. After years of research (mostly carried out in the British Museum), he published in 1867 the first volume of his great work, Capital. From 1864 to 1872 Marx played a leading role in the International Working Men's Association, and his last years saw the development of the first mass workers' parties founded on avowedly Marxist principles.

Besides the two posthumous volumes of Capital compiled by Engels, Karl Marx's other writings include The German Ideology, The Poverty of Philosophy, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, The Civil War in France, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy and Theories of Surplus-value.


Product Description

About the Author

Karl Marx was born in 1818 in Trier, Germany and studied in Bonn and Berlin. Influenced by Hegel, he later reacted against idealist philosophy and began to develop his own theory of historical materialism. He related the state of society to its economic foundations and mode of production, and recommended armed revolution on the part of the proletariat. Together with Engels, who he met in Paris, he wrote the Manifesto of the Communist Party. He lived in England as a refugee until his death in 1888, after participating in an unsuccessful revolution in Germany.

Ernst Mandel was a member of the Belgian TUV from 1954 to 1963 and was chosen for the annual Alfred Marshall Lectures by Cambridge University in 1978. He died in 1995 and the Guardian described him as 'one of the most creative and independent-minded revolutionary Marxist thinkers of the post-war world.'


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails appears as an 'immense collection of commodities'; the individual commodity appears as its elementary form. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By mrstuie
Format:Paperback
Fascinating and world-view affecting reading.

If you're buying a copy of Capital to go with David Harvey's book "A Companion to Capital" or his phenomenal free lectures go with this one, rather than the Oxford World's Classics abridgement.

True, this version is intimidatingly fat, and the OWC's version seems to be a more readable translation, but it (the OWC version) is missing lots of the detail (sometimes several paragraphs at a time), colour and footnotes to which Harvey refers.

Hope this review doesn't seem superfluous but I bought the other version because it was all I could get hold of at short notice and spent hours finding and reading missing sections in a .pdf version as a result!
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karl Marx, surprisingly relevant 17 Feb 2009
Format:Paperback
Having never read Karl Marx but heard him quoted; usually in a derogative way I thought that I should find out what he said for myself.
The downside of Marx is that he over explains to the point of sometimes stupifying the reader and never uses one word when six will do!!
The up side more than makes up for it and if you can persevere, given the current climate his writings are almost prophetic in several major and aposite ways.
I was surprised to find that he was not particularly political in the way that he is usually portrayed and was writing very specifically about the future of industrial capitalism as it was practised in America and the uk. No wonder the "masters of the universe" both then and now sought to shut him up by demonising him; they may have been rumbled before they made a packet otherwise! I don't agree with everything Marx wrote, but I do believe that his ideas should be more widely debated than they are. This was an excellent book for adding to my world perspective and I can thoroughly recommend it.
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119 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doors of Perception 23 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
If :

- Your mum has taught you lots of valuable things (eat your vegetables, be nice to old people and little dogs, don't be late to school, keep a clean nose) but she was never really able to explain why you had to WORK for a living - instead of, you know, just living;

- Your teachers packed your head full with all kinds of useful knowledge (about prepositions and adverbs, mineralogy and astrophysics, the reproductive organs of plants, x+2-y=0) but they never told you how exactly PROFITS are made - and why anybody would want to make them anyway;

- Your friends and lovers can spend hours yakking about various interesting topics (the latest music machine, videogames, designer shoes, imitation leather sofas, blockbuster movies, pink underwear and cherry flavoured bubble-gum) but they call you a bore and a nitpick whenever you wonder why you're all surrounded by so many COMMODITIES and publicity ads promising you bigger, better and faster useless things.

- You often have the impression that some greater truth is lacking in your life (and you've tried all the legal/illegal drugs, exciting TV shows, gurus and psychoanalysts, help-yourself books and bestsellers about kid sorcerers)...

...Then the time may have come to have a long talk with good old Uncle Karl - the black sheep of the social sciences, the guy nobody likes to mention at social occasions (except in the form of a joke: "have you heard the one about Karl Marx in Las Vegas?"), the most misquoted and misinterpreted modern thinker.

In "Capital", he kindly invites you to break on through to the other side (that's how countercultural he was) and check out what's really happening behind the glitzy appearances of everyday life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tangled Threads 15 Jan 2014
By s k
Format:Paperback
Capital is Karl Marx's systematic exposition of the 'capitalist mode of production'. First published in 1867, the book has the dubious distinction of being often cited yet rarely read. That, however, has much to do with its heft, and the present Penguin Classics edition comes in at 1141 pages, although a large chunk of that is down to its scholarly bookends. Ernest Mandel, the renowned Marxist populariser, gives an illuminating yet incredibly partisan Introduction to Capital's revolutionary theories, while the book's Appendix contains Marx's 'Results of the Immediate Process of Production', an excision from Capital rediscovered in the 1930s. Both add to our understanding of Marx's work, and as Mandel has written the Penguin Classics Introductions to Volumes II and III - compiled and released by Friedrich Engels after Marx's death - there is a thankful element of continuity to the whole enterprise, albeit parti pris.

The book itself is commonly viewed as the culmination of Marx's thought, his cast-iron masterpiece. But why is it so little read? Why is it eclipsed by its slim and fiery sibling, the Communist Manifesto? Well, apart from issues of size, a lot of it has to do with the dialectical complexity of Marx's thought, which, in Capital, endlessly unpicks the tangled threads ever present in the generation of surplus-value. Where the Manifesto is quotable and concise, Capital is its ugly opposite - or so it seems. Some view the book as a sprawling and prolix expansion of the Manifesto, or at least of its main points, but it is far more patient and discerning, and less enamoured of its own rhetoric.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Force of Logic Going Nowhere
It should be stressed for the novice to this subject, all three volumes of Capital provide a scientific explanation, as Marx put it, of how the Capitalist system works from the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Dean M. Jackson
3.0 out of 5 stars Why fifteen pounds?!
Fabulous book and I want a proper edition for my Kindle but why does a book more than 150 years old (and the translation itself also several decades old) cost fifteen pounds? Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dan Coin
5.0 out of 5 stars Classics
Must read! Very good translation. Karl Marx writes so elegantly. I cannot get enough of him.
The book has comfortable paperback binding.
Published 13 months ago by A. Tetere
1.0 out of 5 stars Great book but no page numbers on kindle version!!!
This kindle version, aside from being a really great translation, is so frustrating as it has no page numbers! How are you supposed to reference from it? Read more
Published 14 months ago by C. Peacock
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it for its footnotes
This (in)famous book needs no introduction, it is a masterpiece of historic research and economic thinking. Read more
Published 14 months ago by semv
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Capitalism
To many people Marxism is a dirty word because of its association with the bureaucratic tyranny of the Stalinist regimes of Russia, Eastern Europe, China etc. Read more
Published on 4 Mar 2012 by P. Webster
4.0 out of 5 stars Five months well spent
This is a surprisingly enjoyable book to read. Not only does it give a disturbingly vivid (albeit skewed) account of capitalist history and working conditions, but much of the... Read more
Published on 30 May 2011 by Mash
5.0 out of 5 stars More relevant than ever.
I've not got much more to add to the other reviews that praise 'Capital', other than to say that, although it is difficult to read and it does involve hard work, it is not beyond... Read more
Published on 17 May 2010 by Germinal
5.0 out of 5 stars The book I'd recommend to read for everyone
Like Darwin's The Origin of Species, Marx's Capital is based on years of research and scientific analysis of economic, social, political lives of people. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2010 by B Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Should be read despite what Marx got wrong
This review covers all three volumes of Mark's Capital in the Penguin edition.

This Penguin edition is exceptionally good value in terms of pennies per page. Read more
Published on 7 Mar 2010 by Gareth Greenwood
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