cover image On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian

On Marx: Revolutionary and Utopian

Alan Ryan. Norton/Liveright, $14.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-87140-793-1

Ryan (On Politics) provides a lucid and concise primer on Marx’s life and thought, with background on Marx’s philosophy, and analysis of the idea “that Marxism was derived from German philosophy, British political economy, and French socialism,” especially the work of Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach brought to light “the illusory quality of religious belief,” leading Marx to the revolutionary notion that to get rid of such illusions, “we must change the society that produces them.” Marx fled Germany for Paris, where he met Frederich Engels, then London. From these sources Marx developed his theory of history as one of conflict between classes, mainly workers whose labor creates goods, and owners who control the means of producing goods. These two groups are always after different ends, and are only just barely able to work together. At those times when they can no longer work together, revolution occurs and a new stage in history breaks forth. In addition to excerpts from The Communist Manifesto, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Critique of the Gotha Programme, and Civl War in France to show Marx’s evolution as a thinker, Ryan also offers a historical and personal timeline to contextualize Marx’s works. Part of a Liveright series of titles by Ryan. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, JVNLA Inc. (Aug.)