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The Communist Manifesto (Rethinking the Western Tradition) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 179 customer reviews

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Length: 229 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Review

The greatest charter of our movement. (Rosa Luxemburg )

An integral and systematic exposition of [Marx's] doctrine ... the best to this day. (Lenin )

Laid the foundation for modern socialism. (Karl Kautsky )

Review

The greatest charter of our movement. (Rosa Luxemburg )

An integral and systematic exposition of [Marx's] doctrine ... the best to this day. (Lenin )

Laid the foundation for modern socialism. (Karl Kautsky )

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 801 KB
  • Print Length: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (29 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083RZVX8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 179 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #660,904 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
This review relates to the Penguin Classics version which comes with an "Introduction" by Gareth Stedman Jones. I put "Introduction" in quotes because it is about 180 pages long, whereas the pamphlet it is introducing is about 30 pages.

If you are interested in reading the Communist Manifesto, it's well worth getting this one, rather than saving yourself a few quid on an edition which just contains the Manifesto itself. Without putting this book in its historical context, you're likely to find yourself thinking "so what?!". The intro is academic and dense at times, but well worth the effort.

The most enlightening aspect of the manifesto itself, for me, is what is NOT in it, rather than what is. There isn't a description of how a communist society should look, for starters. The story of this book is the story of a pamphlet written for a specific time and place, which became an iconic work when it was seized on by the Soviets for reasons of political expediency. I'm sure if Marx and Engels knew what they would turn this book into, they would have written it very differently. No wonder Marx is quoted as saying "I am not a Marxist".
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Format: Pamphlet
Very smart of Bookmarks Publications to print a compact pamphlet-edition of the Communist Manifesto, allowing everyone to get hold of a handy copy for a very small fee. While the foreword is written by one of the Socialist Worker staff, hence it's somewhat (ok that's an understatement) biased, at least it dispenses with the usual hundereds of pages of commentary that frequently occupy publications of this 30-page document. Previously myself and others felt it was necessary to plough through these lengthy (and often misleading) introductions before reading the thing itself, and as a result people often give up before making it that far. It turns out you don't really need to do that as the thing largely speaks for itself; the style is usually quite clear and accessible and the parts that don't seem to make sense are usually the parts that refer to persons or parties of the time (i.e that are out of date).
As for the thing itself, I think I'll avoid saying anything too inflammatory in this review. I think that whether you agree with Marx or not, everyone should read this document (no excuse now it only costs a quid). A lot of people make vast sweeping statements about how Marx was completely wrong when they (and I don't mean everyone) in fact haven't even read the Communist Manifesto. If you can't even be bothered to read 30 pages of relatively easy reading then how can you talk about such things? In any case, Marx is in fact very misunderstood, which is only inevitable given how disagreeable his ideas (the ones he *did* have not the ones people wrongly associate with him) are to some people. You need to read this to understand what Marx was actually for, and what he in fact wasn't.
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Format: Paperback
Whilst the book is not written for the enjoyment of the reader it is written with purpose. This purpose was to formulate and summarise the ideas and ideals of the so called communist movement at the time. However, I believe if one reads the book they will have to concede that Marxs ideas of communism do not mirror those which were brought about by the revolutions of the Twentieth century. To blame Marx for these failed implications of an idealsitic system is to blame Nietzche for the attrocities of the Nazis. Both write with a positive intent and a posiitve message for mankind and neither deserve criticism for this. However, due to their unswerving belief in themselves and their often harsh / revolutionary ideas they were bound to attract it.
This book is as pertinent today as it was when it was written. The huge changes in the political scene, the growth of capitalistic society, the failed attempts at the implication of so called communism and the oversights the authors freely admitted do not retract from the message running through the text.
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By Henry Ireton VINE VOICE on 21 Mar. 2006
Format: Paperback
If you have not read this, read it now.
I do not agree with Marx but this book is indispensible to understanding the history of the 20th Century, you cannot reach into the mindset of many of the leading actors without tackling this book. There is a reason so many intelligent men and women saw within this book such a lot of truth and tried (in my view falsely) to apply it to their societies- this is a book which deserves to be read by any individual who thinks that they think. If you have read it and dismissed it or not read it you are not yet someone who has grappled with what the world is or might be. The thesis was when it was published provocative- it borrowed from Hegel, Rousseau and even for one of its most significant phrases Edmund Burke and retains features of Hegelian historical progression and Rousseauian account of the formation of civilised man- put together though it is a work of genius and deserves to be read now.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It merits five stars because of its importance, though it is not the best introduction to Marxist theory. A key element is the materialist conception of history, also called historical materialism and dialectical materialism. This views history as the inevitable progress from primitive communism to feudalism to capitalism and finally modern communism. The theory sees economics as the key shaper of historical events. In Marxism the all-important economic structure, or "foundation", of society determines the "superstructure" of ideas, morals, religion, social and political institutions etc. In its extreme form historical materialism is completely deterministic and in this form it is open to serious objections, but though Marx and Engels probably did not do enough to disown the determinism of their followers, it is clear they meant something less. Later Engels was to write that historical materialism "is in the last resort decisive in the production and reproduction of actual life...the economic condition is the basis but the various elements of the superstructure...exert an influence of the historical struggles, and in many instances determine their form."

Marx's historical materialism operates via the class struggle. "class" is used in the sense of an economic group defined by its position in the process of production: slave/master, serf/feudal lord, worker/capitalist. According to Marx, whenever private ownership of the means of production exists there is class conflict over the division of the fruits of production. The Manifesto claims that what is new in the capitalist era is that classes have been reduced to just two, because small employers and self-employed craftsmen were being driven into the ranks of the proletariat and exploitation worsens:
"The bourgeoisie...
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