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As a recording of the Communist Manifesto, this is excellent, if overpriced. The narrator did a fine job. However, the "Other Writings" are a somewhat esoteric selection of Marx's lesser-known articles and essays. Of some interest to the more dedicated Marx students, but of little use as a general introduction to his thinking. It would have been better to bundle the Manifesto with the introductory "Wage Labour and Capital", selections from "The 18th Brumaire", "Capital", etc.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful
As long as I remember he was only 30, I can forgive the overzealous, overeducated tone of these writings. It surprises and saddens me that he didn't outgrow some of his early ideas with the perspective of age and experience. That said, these are pieces that have stood the test of time, for whatever reason.
I confess I am at a loss to understand why Marx is still held in high regard in certain quarters. Perhaps his serious writings are more carefully structured. The pieces presented here are more in the way of periodical summations. Most of them are commentaries on current events or critiques of other writings by his contemporaries. It is difficult to properly evaluate them without a deep knowledge of the things he is critiquing. Time and again he will repeat a catch phrase without ever getting around to defining precisely what he means by it. So many of these terms have gotten muddied in the intervening 170 years that it makes the problem that much harder. Perhaps this is not a good choice for an audio book given the need for such annotations and footnoting. So many of his premises are simply taken for granted. So many of his "obvious" conclusions seem completely arbitrary. I waited for the chain of reasoning that led him to his conclusions but it never came. Occasionally, he would acknowledge an opposing viewpoint, and even offer to explore it, but after a token gesture in that direction he would say something like "but enough of that" and go back to preaching to the converted. As a newspaperman he certainly has a certain flair for rhetoric. He has a fondness for inversion formations such as "he does not say what he means, and he means what he does not say." That, by the way, is from his critique of Karl Heinzen. I have to say that most of the charges he levels at Heinzen apply to his own works as well.
Mercifully, the book is short, as otherwise it would simply be too frustrating to have so many questions left unexplained and unanswered. It is extremely ironic that someone who writes so penetratingly on the topics he addresses is somehow unable to carry that through to a logical conclusion.
One eerie aspect of this audio book is that the reader chooses to read it with a cheerful tone of voice, as though he were reading about kittens and puppies instead of hard-hitting political commentary.
6 of 14 people found this review helpful
It would pay to know a little of the social and political history of Germany, France and England to have some context of what he is saying. a considerable amount of his underlying philosophy is based on social constructivism and the human mind being a blank slate which, Science has completely debunked, of which Steven Pinkers book, The Blank Slate, gives good account.
An interesting an inticing concept overall but ultimately, as history has demonstrated grossly flawed.