cover image Love and Capital: Karl Marx and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution

Love and Capital: Karl Marx and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution

Mary Gabriel. Little, Brown, $35 (768p) ISBN 978-0-316-06611-2

Gabriel (Notorious Victoria) offers a magisterial account of the lives of Karl Marx and his wife, Jenny von Westphalen, remarkable for the ease with which it moves between the domestic and the political spheres, offering a vivid picture of the man who not only gave birth to modern socialism but who was also a loving husband and doting father. Tracing their tumultuous lives from Prussia, via Paris to Brussels and finally London, Gabriel tells the story of a woman who forswore the comforts of her noble upbringing to raise a family in often very straitened circumstances with a man committed in both his life and letters to social justice and the emancipation of the working class. Equally at home with the details of Marxist theory and revolutionary Europe as she is with the private lives of Karl and Jenny, the author dazzles most with her fascinating accounts of the lives of the Marx children. Of seven born to Jenny, only three daughters survived to adulthood and became women immersed in the culture and issues of their times, two becoming prominent social activists in their own right. With a fluid style that belies her considerable research, Gabriel offers us the human, family side of a character more usually seen as a calculating theoretician, and in so doing offers an intimate glimpse into the trials, tribulations, and passions of a man who, more than any other thinker, has shaped our modern notions of work, money, and social relations. (Sept.)