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Sowell's book is, without doubt, one of the most comprehensive studies on Marxism, based on years of research into Marx and Engels' works. It is specifically remarkable for reading through most of the first hand works by the two intellectuals, instead of founding its arguments on mere conceptions and articulations (as done by many), and giving a comprehensive and coherent vision of Marxism. Quite importantly, this vision is based on the philosophical and intellectual framework conceived by Marx and Engels and the historical context of the time, rather than using contemporary definitions and terms to illustrate an idea (and a philosophy) that was proposed one and a half centuries ago.
However, it is not written as fluently as it claims. Somewhere in the middle, I decided to acquire the book itself, to be able to go back and read some of the sentences several times. The narration does not make things easier, partly because of the nature of the book, and Marxism in general, partly because of the writing style of Sowell, and partly because of the narration itself. E.g. book is full of quotations, and, at times, it is hard to follow when a quotation starts and when it ends. Or, when a footnote ends. Writing style is full of long but complicated sentences, and Louis does not make them easy to follow!
In sum, if you are an economist, or someone interested in the history of economic though (or the idea of liberty in general), this is a must read for you. But, be prepared for a hard read!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
I read this book primarily as a way to understand my "lefty" friends and maybe gain some perspective as to why the Marxist ideology is attractive. I wanted to feel the pull towards this ideology but with the context that can be supplied by a critical author. Maybe I really need to expose myself to some hardcore Marxist writings, or maybe I'm just too incompatible with this line of thought. A decent enough book, but I never really felt like I couldn't put it down nor did it ever express its ideas in a way that led me to think.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful