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Why Marx Was Right Paperback – 3 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Reprint edition (3 Jan. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300181531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300181531
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Acclaimed literary scholar and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of English Literature at Notre Dame.

Terry Eagleton is the author of many books including The Idea of Culture (2000), Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002), the bestselling text Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983, 1996, 2008), Trouble with Strangers: A Study of Ethics (2009), and the forthcoming On Evil (2010).

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Review

"Terry Eagleton takes on some of the most common objections to Marxism and answers each in turn, in a clear, non-technical and often humorous way."-London Review of Books London Review of Books

About the Author

Terry Eagleton is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster, England, and Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He lives in Dublin.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Orlando Innamorato on 6 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent book from Eagleton. Easily accessible and with a pungent sense of humour( as Marx himself had in his books),it covers the different aspects of Marx's thought. It gives a new light to what socialism really means. The author enlightens the reader on the perils of capitalism and give them an exhaustive argumentation on how the capitalist society into which we live, needs a dramatic change, if we want to be rid of the injustices and inequalities brought upon us by capitalism. The author, as Marx and the good Engels themselves in their time, does not deny the need for society to pass through the stage of capitalism in order to maximize the amount of wealth needed to create the 'superstructure' or that high category of art, literature and science, which enables modern society to progress. However, Eagleton makes it clear that we need to move on, if the 'base', the productive forces that make possible to professors, artists, journalists and TV presenters ( although I am not quite sure about the last one) to work and give to us the culture that we so much enjoy.
Socialism, or communism if you prefer, is not egalitarian. Capitalism it is. It has taken us to a magnificent and unique level of equality: that of profit and money for the sake of it.
Eagleton might not have the depth of Eric Hobsbawn, when it comes to cast a light to some aspects on Marxist theories and analysis of Marx's literary production, although is a far more enjoyable reading than the dear professor's books.
Capitalism is not fair, especially when in half an hour time you have to dash off for a menial job paid with minimum wage....as it is the case for myself! I have the honour of seeing with my own eyes and feel with my own thick skin what exploitation means.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Larry Butler on 22 Feb. 2013
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The most readable, well-informed and thought-provoking text on politics I have read for many years. Guaranteed to stimulate your brain, whether you start off as a sympathiser or not. Demonstrates Eagleton's lucid and engaging style to its best advantage. Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Clarke on 3 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You get the impression Eaglton rattled this off without pausing for breath. This kind of makes you want to hang on and keep reading. There is no denying the lifetime of scholarship that lies behind this achievement though, nor the incisiveness with which he shoots down common (usually ignorant) criticisms of Marx's work and ideas. It is all very, very convincing when it relates to Marx's analysis of (and great admiration for) Capitalism, particularly its instability and its ultimate incompatiblity with a true democacy. Its biggest weakness - which it shares with Marx - is that it offers no alternative that is remotely either plausible or appealing. I wish it did, and and no doubt it is out there, but it is not in this otherwise excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Dodd on 15 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
This book was much needed. The well-read Marxist will probably gain little additional knowledge from it. However, it is a fantastic and enjoyable read, funny, ironic and launching a devastating attack against many of Marx's critics. The book answers to ten of the most common critiques of Marxism. Those who unleash these critiques I am sure will be challenged if they read this book with an open mind. Ultimately, this could be a book for the general reader, the one who would be first helped by an introduction to Marxism and anybody who desires to read to further their limited knowledge of Marxism. I would still recommend reading The Communist Manifesto beforehand. Overall, pick it up.
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105 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on 15 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his latest book, Eric Hobsbawm suggested that perhaps '[o]nce again, the time has come to take Marx seriously'. In this book, Eagleton does precisely that and, in doing so, demonstrates the continuing relevance and importance of Marx.

Each chapter of the book starts with a common criticism of Marxist thought. So, for example, Chapter 1 begins with:

"Marxism is finished. It might conceivably have had some relevance to a world of factories and food riots... But it certainly has no bearing on the increasingly classless, socially mobile, postindustrial Western societies of the present." (P1)

From here, Eagleton goes on to demonstrate that the 'underlying logic' of capitalism remains the same and thus a Marxist critique is still most certainly relevant. As he points out, to simply accept that:

"some people are destitute while others are prosperous is rather like claiming that the world contains both detectives and criminals. So it does, but this obscures the truth that there are detectives because there are criminals..."(P11)

Other criticisms that Eagleton considers include (Chapter 2) the murderous and tyrannical nature of actually existant socialist societies such as Stalin's Russia and Mao Zedong's China; (Chapter 3) the idea that Marxism is a form of historical determinism and that 'Marx's theory of history is just a secular version of Providence or Destiny' (P30); (Chapter 4) Marxism is utopian and thus unrealistic; (Chapter 5) Marxism reduces everything to the economic and is a form of 'economic determinism'.
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