First issued as a FONTANA Modern Masters book, McLellan was a Professor at the University of Kent for decades, therefore well suited to summarise the key ideas and assess the influence of one of the Victorian eminences who helped create the 20th Century. He is fair-minded so takes Marx seriously (well, yes) but he is no ideologue. As one would expect from his prodigious writings on Marx's influences and his own on the world, in a short, impartial book the author manages to be reliable about both Marx's life and work, not excepting the huge contribution made by émigré German Engels, factory owner in Manchester - 'Cottonopolis' - ensuring that economics was nothing like an ivory tower matter. As one would expect, the central concepts are here: proletariat and bourgeois; alienation and Hegel's dialectical idealism 'stood on its head' in matter as dialectical materialism, through which History, Marx believed, proceeded in three stages, class against class in "a political struggle." In essence this is a simple theory of History if harder as economics. The legacy is more controversial: is Lenin's adaptation of Marx aberrant avant gardeism or not? Is Stalinism a heresy or a strain of Marxism? This excellent book is an easy and stimulating introduction to a colossal thinker to be ranked with Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud, with whom one need not agree but it is folly to disregard. Thomas Piketty's success indicates that Marx is very much relevant and likely to remain so. That his ideas were taken up by the 'Marxist-Leninist', i.e. Communist, Soviet Union was, I think, History's little joke. Marx was no Communist, indeed he once famously declared "I am not a Marxist." This book will show you how and why..
I wanted to know if Karl Marx was the giant of politics that we might have been led to believe. This book answered my query perfectly. He was not! He was a consumate hypocrite . Comletely intolerant and extremely good at spending other people's money. The book is well researched and suffers slightly from bring a very academic study of the subject, e.g. at times the author uses far to many long words which cloud the meaning. That said, it is a very complete work and I would recommend it for a serious read. .