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Marx for Beginners [Paperback]

4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

10 July 2003
A cartoon book about Marx? Are you sure it's Karl, not Groucho? How can you summarize the work of Karl Marx in cartoons? It took Rius to do it. He's put it all in: the origins of Marxist philosophy, history, economics; of capital, labor, the class struggle, socialism. And there's a biography of "Charlie" Marx besides.

Like the companion volumes in the series, Marx for Beginners is accurate, understandable, and very, very funny.

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Marx for Beginners + Beginning theory (third edition): An introduction to literary and cultural theory (Beginnings)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books (10 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375714618
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375714610
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 183,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clears the fog surrounding marxism! 4 Sep 2002
I read this book whilst preparing for a seminar on Karl Marx. i searched for books that gave me an accurate yet easy to understand run down on marxism. I felt its cartoons and jokes made the reading far less boring than other text books i had read. the detailed glossary at the back also helped me to understand some of the more complicated langauge. I felt it was a great book to give a grounding on the subject and helped me to understand the more complex books on marxism. I would recommend it to anyone who has read other texts on Marxism and are still no further in understanding the ideology.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful little booklet on Marx 11 May 2009
I bought "Marx for Beginners", a cartoon introduction to Marx written by Mexican political cartoonist Eduardo del Rio ("Rius"), not so much because I needed an introduction to Marxism but to see how the theory can be summarized as pithily and shortly as possible. And indeed, Del Rio has done an admirable job on this. The reader is guided through all aspects of Marx' work as well as biography, even including an extraordinarily rapid overview of the history of philosophy and of the early socialists. Of the economic theories of Marx only the basics are explained, but nevertheless sufficient to get the point of what Marx tried to show in "Capital", if not how he proved it.

As far as the political side goes, Del Rio usefully emphasizes the limitations of social-democracy and its inability to get beyond the exploitation of capitalism, as well as many quotations from Marx showing how he opposed this tendency. As criticisms, one could remark that Engels gets short shrift in this book - admittedly it is titled "Marx for beginners", but one wonders why not "Marx & Engels for beginners"? Also, Del Rio seems to take the connection between Marx and Lenin as a natural progression for granted, even including in the (otherwise very handy) vocabulary of terms under Marxism-Leninism: "theory of the proletarian liberation movement". Hardly something uncontested.

The drawings are clear and funny, if a bit on the juvenile side compared to the content that he is trying to convey. This might have a good effect on younger people reading it though, making it possibly useful as a high school text on Marx, if there ever is a capitalist country brave enough to allow it. Due to the requirements of Del Rio's purpose, some of the summaries of earlier thinkers are so simple as to be simplistic, but this can't be helped. Overall, a practical and well-done introduction to Marx for the complete novice.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice little piece of history. 15 May 2004
I studied classical sociology at college and, of course, this included good old Marxism. Marxism is built upon a simple idea: that the rich exploit the poor and eventually the poor will rise up. This is easy to understand! The other, more subtle, bits about Marxism are not so easy to understand mainly due to the terminology. All that "negative surplus value" stuff hurts your head after a while. This little gem, which is basically a comic book, explains everything effectively and quickly. The problem with Marxism, and Marx admitted it, was that the working classes had little time to spend pouring over books, more so his. The working classes of his time wouldn't have been able to read anyway. Although this book uses words it would have been easier to read than 'Das Kapital'. Marx should have had himself a good business advisor.
So, if you fancy becoming a communist/socialist, passing your school exams, or winning the pub quiz this is the book for you!!! This book would also suit lazy university students doing the odd essay on globalisation or oppressed McJob workers who can't spend the time to wade through the works of Marx & Engels.
It is quite funny in places too because it was written in the 1970s. The author clearly believed all the world's problems were caused by America as if capitalism didn't exist in Latin American or Eastern European countires. Under a list of "great people inspired by socialism" are, amongst others, the names of Stalin, Tito, and oddly, Gandhi. I never knew the Mahatma was a communist but there you go.
A good read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction for architecture student 13 Oct 2010
I am a postgraduate architecture student, and my dissertation tutor recommended this book for me as an introduction to Marxist theory. I have to say, it actually made the theory readable, and it was just the kind of thing which is really useful as it gives you a broad overview with just enough detail for an idea of what to look at next. Highly recommended.
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