Why Marx Was Right

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Overview

In this combative, controversial book, Terry Eagleton takes issue with the prejudice that Marxism is dead and done with. Taking ten of the most common objections to Marxism—that it leads to political tyranny, that it reduces everything to the economic, that it is a form of historical determinism, and so on—he demonstrates in each case what a woeful travesty of Marx's own thought these assumptions are. In a world in which capitalism has been shaken to its roots by some major crises, Why Marx Was Right is as urgent and timely as it is brave and candid. Written with Eagleton's familiar wit, humor, and clarity, it will attract an audience far beyond the confines of academia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A lively defense of Karl Marx's ideas attempts to reassert their relevancy for a world in the throes of global financial instability. Taking issue with what he sees as the 10 most common criticisms of Marxism, literary and cultural theorist Eagleton (The Illusions of Postmodernism) offers a richer, more complex and nuanced picture of the father of modern socialism. Examining such charges as socialism's naïve utopianism or that its view of history is too rigidly deterministic, he offers a view of Marxism that does not so much oppose it to capitalism as seek to complicate and enrich their relationship, so the former might come to be seen as the most logical and reasonable response to the failings of the latter. Throughout, the author is witty, entertaining, and incisive, cutting through the thickets of Marx's work to expose a body of thought devoted to emancipation, welfare, and human flourishing. Though he perhaps tries too hard toward the end to provide a foundational connection between Marxism and contemporary environmental concerns, Eagleton fluidly demonstrates the value of reappraising Marx in the current climate, offering a timely reminder that, despite the dominance of the free market, history is an ongoing process and that people still have the power to bend it toward justice. (Apr.)
The Christian Century - Dennis O'Brien

"Reading a book by Terry Eagleton is like watching fireworks. . . . The list of Marxism's shortcomings is common coinage, and Eagleton offers convincing counterarguments."—Dennis O'Brien, Christian Century
Bookslut - Greg Linster

"Professor Eagleton covers the spectrum of critiques of Marxian ideas like only an actual critic of Marx could. As such, most of the rebuttals to these critiques are well contrived and incredibly sharp."—Greg Linster, Bookslut
Guardian - Owen Hatherley
'Each of the chapters of this erudite and breezy ... tract begins with a series of asssertions about Marx and Marxism, which Eagleton then proceeds to debunk ... through excursions into philosophy, political practice and literary analogy. ... Polemically charged and enjoyable.' - Guardian
Irish Times - Frank Barry
“…… A short, witty, and highly accessible jaunt through Marx’s thought in preparation for the second coming.”—Frank Barry, Irish Times
PopMatters - Michael Patrick Brady
"Eagleton is a compelling writer and raconteur... He’s a witty, insightful thinker with a penchant for glib asides and wry dashes of humor. It’s probably the only book that makes references to Tiger Woods and Mel Gibson along with Charles Fourier and Michel Foucault."—Michael Patrick Brady
The Scotsman - Michael Kerrigan
“Not so much a good read as a romp, this is an irresistibly lively, and thought-provoking essay.”—Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman
Morning Star - John Green
Why Marx Was Right is no abstract argumentation but an eloquent, fact-based rebuttal of the usual criticisms of Marxism.”—John Green, Morning Star
Socialist Worker - Gareth Jenkins
“This is a wonderful book that every socialist should have on their bookshelves.”—Gareth Jenkins, Socialist Worker
Marx & Philosophy Review of Books - Matthijs Krul
"Why Marx Was Right is designed for a wide audience and deserves one. With flair, sparkling wit, and no fear of vigorous rebuttal, Eagleton's book seeks to address some of the most often heard criticisms of Marx and Marxist thought. . . . Terry Eagleton has taken much of the best the Marxist tradition has to offer in thinking about class, nature, revolution, history, and many such grand subjects, and summarized it briefly with clarity, intelligence, and a sense of humor. And for this he deserves our thanks."—Matthijs Krul, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
The Tablet (Books of the Year) - Michael O'Sullivan
“….Refreshing and challenging…. [A] most compelling read.”—Michael O’Sullivan, The Tablet (Books of the Year)
London Review of Books

"Terry Eagleton takes on some of the most common objections to Marxism and answers each in turn, in a clear, non-technical and often humorous way."—London Review of Books
The Christian Century

"Reading a book by Terry Eagleton is like watching fireworks. . . . The list of Marxism's shortcomings is common coinage, and Eagleton offers convincing counterarguments."—Dennis O'Brien, Christian Century

— Dennis O'Brien

Guardian

'Each of the chapters of this erudite and breezy ... tract begins with a series of asssertions about Marx and Marxism, which Eagleton then proceeds to debunk ... through excursions into philosophy, political practice and literary analogy. ... Polemically charged and enjoyable.' - Guardian

— Owen Hatherley

Irish Times
“…… A short, witty, and highly accessible jaunt through Marx’s thought in preparation for the second coming.”—Frank Barry, Irish Times

— Frank Barry

PopMatters

"Eagleton is a compelling writer and raconteur... He’s a witty, insightful thinker with a penchant for glib asides and wry dashes of humor. It’s probably the only book that makes references to Tiger Woods and Mel Gibson along with Charles Fourier and Michel Foucault."—Michael Patrick Brady

— Michael Patrick Brady

The Scotsman

“Not so much a good read as a romp, this is an irresistibly lively, and thought-provoking essay.”—Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman

— Michael Kerrigan

Morning Star
Why Marx Was Right is no abstract argumentation but an eloquent, fact-based rebuttal of the usual criticisms of Marxism.”—John Green, Morning Star

— John Green

Socialist Worker
“This is a wonderful book that every socialist should have on their bookshelves.”—Gareth Jenkins, Socialist Worker

— Gareth Jenkins

Bookslut

"Professor Eagleton covers the spectrum of critiques of Marxian ideas like only an actual critic of Marx could. As such, most of the rebuttals to these critiques are well contrived and incredibly sharp."—Greg Linster, Bookslut

— Greg Linster

Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
"Why Marx Was Right is designed for a wide audience and deserves one. With flair, sparkling wit, and no fear of vigorous rebuttal, Eagleton's book seeks to address some of the most often heard criticisms of Marx and Marxist thought. . . . Terry Eagleton has taken much of the best the Marxist tradition has to offer in thinking about class, nature, revolution, history, and many such grand subjects, and summarized it briefly with clarity, intelligence, and a sense of humor. And for this he deserves our thanks."—Matthijs Krul, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books
— Matthijs Krul
The Tablet (Books of the Year)
“….Refreshing and challenging…. [A] most compelling read.”—Michael O’Sullivan, The Tablet (Books of the Year)

— Michael O'Sullivan

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300169430
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Terry Eagleton is currently Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster, England, and Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He lives in Dublin.

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