(K. Brent Tomer),
Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion. By Gareth Stedman Jones. Allen Lane; 750 pages; £35. To be published in America by Belknap in October.
COMMUNISM collapsed nearly 30 years ago, but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Marxist approaches are found in some of the most interesting history and sociology being published today. Marx’s works, including “The Communist Manifesto”, written with Friedrich Engels in 1848, may have had more impact on the modern world than many suppose. Of the manifesto’s ten principal demands, perhaps four have been met in many rich countries, including “free education for all children in public schools” and a “progressive or graduated income tax”.
There is no better guide to Marx than Gareth Stedman Jones of Queen Mary University of London. In a new book he offers rich descriptions of Marx’s life, much of which was spent in abject poverty. German-born “Karl”, as the author refers to him, would work three or four days straight without sleep and was constantly ill (his uncompromising diet, based on “highly seasoned dishes, smoked fish, caviar and…Continue reading