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Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned ...
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Overview

The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:

  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

Largely ignored when it was first published in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s The Communist Manifesto has become one of the most widely read and discussed social and political testaments ever written. Its ideas and concepts have not only become part of the intellectual landscape of Western civilization: They form the basis for a movement that has, for better or worse, radically changed the world.

Addressed to the common worker, the Manifesto argues that history is a record of class struggle between the bourgeoisie, or owners, and the proletariat, or workers. In order to succeed, the bourgeoisie must constantly build larger cities, promote new products, and secure cheaper commodities, while eliminating large numbers of workers in order to increase profits without increasing production—a scenario that is perhaps even more prevalent today than in 1848. Calling upon the workers of the world to unite, the Manifesto announces a plan for overthrowing the bourgeoisie and empowering the proletariat.

This volume also includes Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852), one of the most brilliant works ever written on the philosophy of history, and Theses on Feuerbach (1845), Marx’s personal notes about new forms of social relations and education.

Communist Manifesto translated by Samuel Moore, revised and edited by Friedrich Engels.

Martin Puchner is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, as well as the author of Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama and Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes (forthcoming).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593081003
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 10/5/2005
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 82,992
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin Puchner is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, as well as the author of Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama and Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes (forthcoming).
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Read an Excerpt

From Martin Puchner’s Introduction to The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings

Written within less than five years of each other, The Communist Manifesto (1848) and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852) are the bookends to the most revolutionary period of the nineteenth century. With the exception of Great Britain, most countries in western and central Europe experienced some kind of revolutionary upheaval around the year 1848. (Two generations earlier, the French Revolution had broken the old aristocratic order in France, but the effects of that revolution had been contained by the restoration of the monarchy in 1814.) Now, Europe’s disenfranchised classes—the peasants, the bourgeoisie, and the proletariat—once more articulated their demands through strikes, mass demonstrations, and acts of resistance. This was the context in which Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels composed the Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (Manifesto of the Communist Party, mostly known as The Communist Manifesto) in 1847. It was published in London in February 1848, only weeks before the outbreak of the first phase of the 1848 revolution in France, the so-called February Revolution. The primary purpose of the Manifesto was to announce and publicize that the communists had given up on the conspiratorial activities of the past and were now entering the scene of politics through an open declaration of principle. The preamble states this goal unequivocally: “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.” Instead of being confined to secret societies and intrigues, communism had acquired a public face.

Even though the publication of the Manifesto had no material impact on France’s February Revolution, its enthusiastic tone makes it clear that it was written in anticipation of a social revolution that it perceived to be imminent. The two authors knew that such a revolution would encounter opposition from those intent on preserving the status quo, but they had seen the proletariat grow stronger and more self-confident by the day and therefore hoped that once united, it would be capable of breaking its chains. The famous first sentence speaks of communism as a “specter” that is haunting Europe. But the Manifesto is certain that communism is about to cease being a mere specter and start becoming the real thing.

If the Manifesto is overly confident with regard to the incipient revolution, Der Achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte) is the analysis of its failure. Following his earlier call for action, Marx issued a call for analysis. It was an analysis born out of disappointment. The text was commissioned by a German publisher in New York City asking Marx to explain what went wrong in France, why the revolution had, within the course of a few years, gradually lost ground only to be entirely undone by the coup d’état of Louis Bonaparte, a figure who had hitherto attracted only ridicule. Marx did not content himself with poking fun at Louis Bonaparte, his hapless policies and inarticulate pronouncements. Rather, he sought to explain the root causes for the initial success and the eventual failure of the revolution. The result is a brilliant example of social analysis, bringing into relation the values and interests of different groups and classes, their policies, shifting alliances, mistakes, and lies. While the Manifesto is a text for times of revolutionary upheaval, the Eighteenth Brumaire is a text for times of reaction.

The Manifesto and the Eighteenth Brumaire were thus intimately tied to one event, the Revolution of 1848. At the same time, they both radiated far beyond this original context. The Manifesto, in particular, became an international success story, one of the texts that influenced world history more directly and lastingly than most. Few texts have been translated into more languages and been printed in more editions, few have inspired more fear and hope than this one, whose significance puts it on a par with foundational texts such as the Bible and the Koran. The Manifesto was read, translated, adopted, transformed, updated, and critiqued by politicians and activists, by scholars and organizers around the world. But the Eighteenth Brumaire, too, has left its mark. When revolutionary hopes inspired by texts modeled on the Manifesto waned, disappointed activists turned to this latter work for guidance and inspiration, and then modeled their own analyses of failed revolutions on the failure of the revolution of 1848.

Despite the undeniable influence and success of both texts, the question remains how we should read them today, in the first decade of the twenty-first century, and after the fall of most socialist regimes in 1989. It has been tempting to assume that with the fall of socialism in the late twentieth century, the writer who inspired socialism has fallen as well. The two texts written around 1848 thus seem to be proven wrong by the events that took place 141 years later. Even though such a historical conclusion is ultimately misguided, the two texts collected here are nevertheless intertwined with the history of socialism in the twentieth century. Indeed, the Manifesto’s influence on the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and the establishment of a socialist society in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, helped this text acquire its status of world historical importance, even though it said little about the transition from a socialist society to a truly communist one, in which private property, and the state, would have withered away. And it was in the Soviet Union that the Manifesto was studied most systematically, printed and reprinted, and integrated into the official discipline called Marxism-Leninism. But while the Bolshevik Revolution helped the Manifesto gain its significance, it also limited the ways in which it was read and interpreted. Neither the Manifesto nor the Eighteenth Brumaire were written to justify the particular form of social, economic, or political organization established in the Soviet Union, nor indeed any other type of state. For this reason, the fact that history has swept away these regimes opens these texts, and all of Marx’s writings, to new readings—readings that can help in our understanding of our own moment in history.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 52 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2009

    The Ultimate For Understanding . . .

    Never have I fully understood what was so threatening about Communism. The concept, as explained by most, always seemed so benign. In such a large world, surely there could be some way to coexist. Why did it have to be one or the other. Reading this book has introduced me to the call for action brought about by the Communist philosophy - a total annihilation of every class other than the proletariat. While magnanimous in its acknowledgement of prior class struggles and accomplishments, it sees those revolutions and movements as only the beginning, not going far enough. The Manifesto clearly outlines that there must be antagonism to existing opposition parties with any means necessary. It's ending thought is a call for a forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Certainly the book advocates a me or them mentality.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Good quick read

    This is a very provocative book. Good start for anyone wanting to know more about communism and socialism.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2006

    The Communist Manifesto

    William Murphy 04/05/?06 per. 2 The Communist Manifesto In Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels? book, The Communist Manifesto, Marx implies that no matter how important or how worthless you are, you are all equal. In Karl Marx?s historical nonfiction he mainly talks about having a classless society. In his book you have two classes 'the working class', also known as the proletarians, and 'the middle class', also known as the bourgeoisie. Karl Marx believed that the working class is the foundation of a surviving country, and as long as there was work, there was a working class. The Manifesto describes the struggle that the proletarians had when they were first created. As industry advanced, the number of workers increased, which made them realize that the working class was the majority and that they control the means of production. Karl Marx made the bourgeoisie the antagonist of the book. He tried to show you the negative things of the middle class such as how lazy and disrespectful they were to the working class. The setting of this book takes place all around the world, because Karl Marx had many followers of his beliefs. No country has ever succeeded in creating a communist society. In order to have a communist society there needs to be economic equality, no government, people own the 'Means of production', and no classes. 'The communists disdain, unworthy of one's consideration or respect, to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!' Karl Marx ends the Manifesto with that quote. What disappointed me about this book is how his communistic ideas never succeeded. You will never know if a communist society is a better method of running a country. I give this book a thumbs up and would suggest it to everyone.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2007

    A reviewer

    The historical context of this title supersedes all personal feelings regarding political idiology. While we may not agree with the implementation of Marx's ideas, every human being must appreciate the impact this work had on modern society. This is required reading for everyone who entertains the notion of seeking first to understand.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    True

    His ideas of the working class and the struggles of the two of them has more weight then it did back then.
    Y

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  • Posted October 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Manifesto is Essential Read; Other Writings less so

    I purchased this book so as to familiarize myself with The Communist Manifesto, and I am glad that I did. The translation is easy to read, and I feel confident that I was able to understand and assimilate the main points that Marx is trying to get across.
    While I understand the historical importance of the other writings such as The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, I do not think that the addition of these works adds anything except additional pages to the book.
    Final Word: If you are purchasing this book because it is an affordable and effective translation of The Communist Manifesto, I say that you will get more than your money's worth. It is a piece of writing that everyone should read.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    That Marx

    The Communist Manifesto is a must read for anyone who is interested in political science or understanding what communism actually is. Many Americans, including myself, are taught from a young age that communism is evil, but we never get told what it even is. Although the manifesto will not give the reader a 100% view of what communism is and what it entails, the manifesto will certainly lay the groundwork. Marx lays out some ideas that, by most's standards, are somewhat radical, but he doesn't always convince the reader and he, like anyone else, errs by making generalizations and unsubstantiated claims. Nevertheless, the manifesto is a must read, and in reality this book contains two works by Marx and that manifesto is literally only 38 or 40 pages.

    Don't be fooled by countries like the USSR or China who get labeled "communist," as they have little or nothing to do with Marxist thought. Read the manifesto!

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  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    very good book except for...

    The Communist Manifesto in all it's glory is an essential to add to anyone's library. The only problem I had with the book is having to read The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte afterwards. It is a very boring and dull part in the book. If you plan to buy this, it is only worth reading the Communist Manifesto and the Theses on Feurbach.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

    Fantastic

    This book is amazing. Karl Marx and others have put to together a masterpiece. This book is more prevelandt nowadays then back in 1848. This book was very persuasive turning me into a Communist, because he strongly stated his case for the working class and against the buorgosies. I recommend this book for all who enjoy learning about different social and economic structures.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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