Top critical review
Dense, philosophical, and about twice as long as it needs to be
8 August 2018
I bought this book because it appeared on The Economist's list of books of the year.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it certainly wasn't what I thought it would be. I'm a newcomer to Marx and his philosophy; I haven't read the Manifesto, I haven't read Kapital. and I'm not familiar with the work of Hegel. As such, a lot of this book went completely over my head. It's telling that this was written by a professor of "the history of ideas" (whatever that means) instead of a historian.
This can only tenuously be called a biography of Marx (though in the book's defense I don't think it claims to be) and is perhaps better described as a comprehensive introduction to Marx's philosophy, with a few historical details sprinkled in here and there.
It was too complicated for me, and I wouldn't recommend it to people who aren't already fairly familiar with Marxism or 19th century German philosophy in general. Not for the average reader.