A Nineteenth-Century Life
For nearly a century, Karl Marx has been imprisoned by "isms", misinterpreted through the writings of Engels and the totalitarian aspirations of Lenin and Stalin. Challenging this antiquated portrait, Jonathan Sperber demonstrates that Marx had more in common with Robespierre than with twentieth-century Communists.
Using the recently opened complete Marx and Engels database, Sperber juxtaposes the private man against the public agitator who helped foment the 1848-49 Revolution and whose incendiary books inflamed the dissident world of Europe. Sperber not only animates Marx’s personal life but also presents Marx’s story against a backdrop of contemporaries. Like Peter Gay’s Freud and Ian Kershaw’s Hitler, Karl Marx becomes the defining portrait of a towering historical figure.
"Jonathan Sperber’s excellent biography succeeds splendidly in reshaping our image of the man and his thoughts."
"Jonathan Sperber’s magnificent, scholarly biography cuts through the dichotomies by examining Marx in the context of his times."
Times Higher Education
"...what will probably be the definitive biography of Karl Marx for years to come..."
"He [Sperber] has given us a Marx for the post-Marxist age, a superb 21st-century biography that sets its subject firmly in his 19th-century context..."
London Review of Books
"Sperber seeks to understand and explain Marx purely within the context of his times...[he] succeeds magnificently in this task. He charts Marx’s intellectual evolution with enviable clarity, elucidating his ideas and putting them in context."
"This biography by Jonathan Sperber is a brilliant embedding of Marx in his times."
Tristram Hunt, Book of the Week, The Guardian
"...profoundly important biography of "The Moor"."
The Guardian Weekly
"...a comprehensive, readable biography..."
"...Jonathan Sperber's absorbing, meticulously researched biography..."
"...he [Sperber] approaches his subject with scholarly seriousness and presents Marx's life in elegant and scrupulous prose."
Irish Left Review
"The most interesting and instructive book I read this year was Jonathan Sperber's Karl Marx...Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this was my book of the year..."
Chandak Sengoopta, Books of the Year 2013, History Today
"Sperber paints a rich portrait of the man, his central ideas and how they evolved."
"In-depth but accessible biography..."
May 2013 • £25.00 • ISBN 978 0 87140 467 1 • 512pp • 156 x 235mm • 34 illustrations
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April 2014 • Paper • £12.99 • ISBN 978 0 87140 737 5 • 672pp • 156 x 235mm • 34 illustrations
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