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on 4 October 2015
Amazing
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on 14 January 2013
He is pleased with this, though he did ask for the Marx biogaphy ie the person not the book! So I got him that as well! He seems delighted, good service, so overall pleased.
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on 20 May 2010
This book may not change your mind about Marxism but it certainly will about Marx. He and Engels both come out of it as the most engaging characters (!).
Wonderful introduction to Marx - bit of a page turner, in fact!
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on 6 May 2011
The judgement about this book depends a lot of what you are looking for. In my case, when I pick up a biography of a work, I pretend to verify in which way the referred book is important for the time in which I live. The Wheen approach does not sound for me to go in that sense. Wheen, through the chapters of his commentary (gestation, birth and afterlife), gives a picture of Marx's masterpiece in a literary and aesthetical way. The advantage of this perspective is that the reader may take a slight flavour of Marx's style. This advantage is not however compensated by its shortcomings. The logic inherent to Marx approach, the meaning of the concepts used and the workable possibilities( or not) of them as a tool of analysis understanding and transformation of our societies are erased from Wheen exercise. I have some doubts that the heedless strand proposed by Whenn will make justice to Mark work. The reader interested in viewing the significance of Das Kapital for nowadays has at lest two much better alternative guides: A Companion to Marx's Capital by David Harvey (encompasses the volume 1) and Marx's Capital from Ben Fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho. Both works are very well written and, not forgeting the richness of Marx fancy style, explain how Das Kapital concepts and proposals may unveil the human relationships of contemporary society.
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on 11 May 2009
"Marx's Das Kapital" is noted Marx-sympathetic journalist Francis Wheen's contribution to Atlantic Magazine's series on book biographies. It's short, merely 120 pages of actual text, but it does the job well. Relying strongly on prominent secondary literature about Marx, such as David McLellan's excellent biography (Karl Marx, Fourth Edition: A Biography) and S.S. Prawer's equally fascinating study of Marx' use of literature and literary references (Karl Marx and World Literature (Oxford Paperbacks)), Wheen summarizes the background of Das Kapital, how it came to be, as well as its content and its reception.

Wheen is at his best in the journalistic parts, when he can give colorful and well-done descriptions of Marx's life and activities, his relation to Engels, his trials and tribulations while working on the magnum opus, and in commentary on Marx's books and style. On the other hand, his grasp of Marx's economic theories is very weak and likely to make things more confusing, especially since he misses the point and meaning of Marx's Theory of Value entirely. Also dubious is that he appends a chapter on 'afterlife' of the book, which is mostly an attempt to summarize all of the later Marxist tradition (from an anti-Leninist viewpoint) in a few pages, a task so impossible that its attempt is fruitless and uninformative.

However, Wheen is quite good at putting Das Kapital in its historical context, in emphasizing the rhetorical and literary qualities of the book and of Marx' thought in general, and the book also contains some fascinating quotes and remarks from pro-capitalist economists and businessmen who have come to see, to their own astonishment, that ol' Marx was a better analyst of the system they wish to support than anyone else. Let us hope the reader of this booklet will be inspired by this to attempt to delve into Marx & Engels' own works, which constantly show their relevance in new and unexpected ways. As Wheen demonstrates, this is precisely as Marx had intended it.
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on 19 June 2008
The acid test is whether it makes you more or less likely to read Capital, surely. In that sense this is a real winner. A very lucid and enjoyable account highlighting aspects of Marx not often noticed. A nice counterpart to his biography of Karl, which paints the old sod as much nastier than does this one. Well worth reading.
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