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Introducing Marxism (Introducing...(Totem)) Paperback – 2 Sep 2004

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
What George Bush would like you to know about Marxism... 30 Nov. 2006
By Mark Twain "Sam" - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rupert Woodfin's comic book is not a review of the critique of capitalism by Marx/Engels or the various modulations that have come since... The author seems to be an ex-Marxist who once swore Marx's theories to be a "scientific" theory, but now has given them the boot and been sucked up in "postmodern" mumbo jumbo. It is though Woodfin is more concerned in attacking the failings of Marxist theory than in attacking the huge problems of our current world and seeing how Marx (writing a century and a half ago) may have some insights to their roots.

Just look at Woodfin's conclusion on pg. 171, his own 10-point program in the style of Communist Manifesto: (1) Socialism does not work. (2) Class cannot be used to explain social phenomena (3) "The state as such is always dangerous and cannot deliver effective social welfare" (4) "markets are the only mechanism which allows for fair distribution" etc etc... also see: (10) "In an interdependent, globalized world, anti-imperialism has had its day. The world is too complex."

The author brings up some of the true failings of classic Marxism (economic determinism, lack of predictive power, etc) and spends innumerable pages on the failures of the Soviet Union (admitting that this dictatorship was not following a Marxist blueprint of some sort) ... but he decides to conclude by throwing out the critically useful insights that Marx had in favor of a dangerous neo-conservative viewpoint that hides below post-modernism.

I was hoping this book would not be written by some old-style Marx-adoring intellectual but this book goes too far! His rejection of social class in a world of exploding inequalities and poverty, rejection of state provision of social services in a world in which millions of children are unschooled, hungry and dying of preventable illnesses and rejection anti-imperialism as the US' military might smashes into the Middle East...these are just too much for me to stomach.

Check out Rius' "Marx for Beginners" for a much better insight.
A Good Introduction 14 Jan. 2014
By Anyong - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's important to understand that the Introducing series is in the business not of teaching you the entirety of any given subject, but merely introducing you to it. This, as with many other titles in the series, gives you a very quick summary of the movement and its history and touches on many of the significant branches. Believe me, you can always go deeper, and really one ought to if one desires anything close to an actual understanding of the subjects the people at Totem Books purport to introduce.

What I find is that these books in general, and this title specifically, prepares your for deeper reading by giving you the gist of things, and thus allows you to engage other texts with greater sustain and keener acumen. There are other series of course, Cambridge has their wonderful, if frequently denser, Companion series, and Paul Strathern has made his career giving a similar gist in 90 minutes. I would say that the people at Totem have hit the so-called sweet spot with these though. Strathern is too often concerned with biographical detail for my tastes, and spends less time with the ideas themselves (though of course the life of a thinker is important to understanding them. Cambridge has wonderful guides, but even these may be a tad much for someone merely seeking to dip their toe in and take a look around. This is why I recommend this series.

The graphic approach hopefully renders these concepts more accessible to a wider audience, and can indeed make what are often thought of as dull subjects, quite entertaining.
4 of 14 people found the following review helpful
a great "introduction" to an overview of the history of Marxism 11 April 2008
By Vip Vinyaratn - Published on
Format: Paperback
This introducing book-although not that "introducing" without some philosophical background-is a great historical survey of the influential system of thought. It outlines all the major changes of the thought from Hegel to Althusser and its break with postmodernism and shows that...somehow...history does move in the dialectical fashion, Although not in the materialism sense.

Like any other "philosophical" thought, it flaws. And this book can concretely outlines the criticisms that come from within the Marxism circle itself and from the "out-siders"

In a nut shell, this book is a great introduction to Marxism.
3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good History and Philosophical Overview of Marxist Thought 20 Jan. 2008
By Erin M. Cox - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm a student of philosophy and I was therefore able to understand some of the more intellectual parts of this introduction. I do not feel however that someone unacquainted with philosophy or Marxism would not find this book both informative and helpful. Also, it's short and has a lot of pictures. I read it in one night!
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