On first reading this book I was a little bit disappointed because I found certain sections difficult to understand. However as advised by Chris Harman in his introduction to 'Explaining the crisis' I read his earlier work 'The Economics of the Madhouse' and was able to come back to this book and read it with greater understanding and clarity. It is a wonderful book that fully explains the basis for modern economic crisis. Chris Harman uses Marx's ideas of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall (and the counter tendency to this phenomena) as being central to his explanation for economic crisis. He also demonstrates the utility of using these explanatory constructs for an analysis of the development of capitalism since Marx's day. Indeed he is able to relate this developing and changing tendency and counter tendency to Lenin's ideas on imperialism and the increasing centralization and concentration of capital, and the subsequent development of the phenomena 'state capitalism' as well as the failures of this phenomena to prevent crisis. This book, though relatively short, is a remarkable achievement and does much to explain the overall social/economic context of the modern world.Sadly Chris Harman died in 2010. He was clearly a great educator of workers and a prolific writer. I am especially thinking of his last great and prophetic work 'Zombie Capitalism' (2007) that builds on this book and really gets to the heart of the present crisis that has beset capitalism since the great banking crash of 2008.