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.
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!
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.
A lot of people probably think they know what Marxism is all about, but in reality only a precious few have any intimate acquaintance with the man's writings and ideas. Only the hardiest of souls can pour through the voluminous pages that constitute Marx's significant body of work, writings that are as dense and complex as just about anything you would ever hope to find. No single book can communicate the depth and breadth of Marxism, but a single book, namely Marx For Beginners by Rius, can and does offer readers an interesting, comprehensible introduction to the basic principles and themes of one of the world's greatest thinkers. I might point out the fact that I personally detest Marx with a passion; the man indirectly caused more trouble than any other individual in history. It is important to know one's enemies well, though, and that is why I have studied Marx to a limited extent. This book was actually one of several required readings in a college course I took on the history of socialism. I had to laugh when I first saw the actual book as it looks like a book of cartoons. Don't let the seeming simplicity of the book fool you, though. Rius uses cartoons and tiny bits of comedy in order to make one's introduction to the subject as interesting as possible, and he covers the basics quite well indeed: Marx's philosophy, his economic doctrine, and his concept of historical materialism. This is an increasingly complex triumvirate of concepts. Actual quotations from Marx himself often drop in front of you like a ton of bricks, but Rius uses this building material to construct a humble edifice of understanding and instruction. He especially excels at placing Marx's ideas in their original historical context, summarizing the evolution of society over the years and pointing to the sources from which Marx drew most heavily: German philosophy, English political economy, and French socialism. You may just be skimming the deep waters of Marxism, but before you know it you've actually learned something about what Marx thought and why he thought it. To further help you along, Rius provides a pretty impressive little glossary of terms at the end and offers a few suggestions on the subject of further reading for those who would like to pursue the subject further. Whether you hate him or love him, Marx is important, and Marx for Beginners is the most accessible gateway to his philosophy and economic theories that I know of.
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.