Karl Marx

by francis wheen | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 1841151149 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 4/27/2019
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Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Saturday, April 27, 2019
(27/04/18) I knew very little about Marx before picking up this book, but was fascinated by the synchronicity of early references to places I have visited, the Moselle Valley, Trier & Compiegne, and the Nazis death camps (I had just finished The Tattooist of Auschwitz).

And in the intro, ‘There were only eleven mourners at Karl Marx’s funeral’ (Highgate Cemetery, NW London), largely unreported in his adopted home in England. His lifelong friend, fellow emigre, financial and literary crutch, and political soulmate Friedrich Engels remarked, ‘His name and his work will endure through the ages’. Who could imagine that his ideological legacy in C20th would lead to Stalin, Mao, Che Guevara and Castro, more than half the world’s population was ruled by governments that professed Marxism to be their guiding faith.

Despite his writing of the Communist Manifesto and the great political economics tome Das Kapital (Capital) he was not drawn to, or suited to, active participation in the class struggles, being more bourgeois in his taste and outlook than a paid-up manual-working member of the proletariat. He reluctantly took a leading part in the International Working Man’s Association, but then appeared to plant the seeds of its downfall. More an academic than a revolutionary, despite his best efforts his writings have, and continue, to inspire others to change the world - from a man who seemed entirely unable to manage his own life and livelihood!

He comes across as a very complex and difficult man to like, which explains partly why this book took so long for me to read. He was a curmudgeon, litigious and cynical, arrogant and largely dismissive of lesser intellects, plagued with illness, driven to write but lacking discipline and focus, feckless (in providing for his family) and profligate when he had any money. However, on the positive side; he was much loved by his long-suffering wife Jenny and his family and loyal followers and friends. He was obviously a great wit, thinker, dreamer and orator. When asked in a family game of Confessions he declared that his favourite occupation as ‘book-worming’ - so he wasn’t all bad ;)

Journal Entry 2 by BookGroupMan at Balham, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, April 27, 2019

Released 6 mos ago (4/27/2019 UTC) at Balham, Greater London United Kingdom

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I'm posting this to my daughter's partner to read or pass on. Enjoy :)

(btw Marx had a daughter Eleanor who was fascinating in her own right; she looked like him (without the beard!), chain-smoked when is wasn't normally acceptable for a Victorian woman, looked after her failing father, and died in a one -sided suicide pact.

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