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Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion

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9780141024806: Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion
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SHORTLISTED FOR THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE FOR HISTORICAL BIOGRAPHY 2017

'A deeply original and illuminating account of Marx's journey through the intellectual history of the nineteenth century... a profound reappraisal and a gripping read' Christopher Clark, author of The Sleepwalkers

As the nineteenth century unfolded, its inhabitants had to come to terms with an unparalleled range of political, economic, religious and intellectual challenges. Distances shrank, new towns sprang up, and ingenious inventions transformed the industrial landscape. It was an era dominated by new ideas about God, human capacities, industry, revolution, empires and political systems - and above all, the shape of the future.

One of the most distinctive and arresting contributions to this debate was made by Karl Marx, the son of a Jewish convert in the Rhineland and a man whose entire life was devoted to making sense of the hopes and fears of the nineteenth century world. Gareth Stedman Jones's impressive biography explores how Marx came to his revolutionary ideas in an age of intellectual ferment, and the impact they had on his times. In a world where so many things were changing so fast, would the coming age belong to those enthralled by the events which had brought this world into being, or to those who feared and loathed it?

This remarkable book allows the reader to understand as never before the world of ideas which shaped Marx's world - and in turn made Marx shape our own.

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Review:

Exhaustive and staggeringly well-researched (Oliver Bullough The Observer)

Vast, dense and intellectually formidable (Dominic Sandbrook The Sunday Times)

Rich and deeply researched (John Gray Literary Review)

Superb ... so long as we persist in our tendency to hive off the study of economics from politics, philosophy and journalism, Marx will remain the outstanding example of how to overcome the fragmentation of modern social thought and think about the world as a whole for the sake of its betterment. And this book will be an admirable guide to how he did it. (Financial Times)

An intellectual history of impeccable scholarship... the book is superb... for those interested in Marx's thinking, Stedman Jones's book is a treat (The Telegraph)

There is no better guide to Marx than Gareth Stedman Jones (Economist)

'A deeply original and illuminating account of Marx's journey through the intellectual history of the nineteenth century. Stedman Jones explores the friendships, affinities, rivalries and hatreds that shaped Marx's life with elegance and analytical brilliance. He anchors his narrative in a startlingly textured account of the society and politics of Marx's era.

Most important of all, he brings to life the thoughts of a plethora of other writers, showing how Marx's engagements with the thoughts of others enabled him to navigate a course that often had little or nothing to do with the Marxism of the twentieth century. A profound reappraisal and a gripping read.'

(Christopher Clark (author of The Sleepwalkers))

From the Back Cover:

'A deeply original and illuminating account of Marx's journey through the intellectual history of the nineteenth century ... a profound reappraisal and a gripping read' Christopher Clark, author of The Sleepwalkers

'The definitive biography of Marx for our time' Peter E. Gordon, The New York Times


'Superb, absorbing ... Stedman Jones's book is a treat ... required reading for anyone interested in understanding the difference between what Marx intended and what has been perpetrated in his name' Rachel Holmes, Daily Telegraph

'Rich and deeply researched' John Gray, Literary Review

'Gareth Stedman Jones's engrossing book takes us back to who Marx really was ... whether you are a Marxist or not, there's no denying that his thought is a fundamental tool for the understanding of history' Michael Wood, BBC History Magazine

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9780674971615: Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion

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