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The fall of the Berlin Wall had enormous symbolic resonance, marking the collapse of Marxist politics and economics. Indeed, Marxist regimes have failed miserably, and with them, it seems, all reason to take the writings of Karl Marx seriously.
Jonathan Wolff argues that if we detach Marx the critic of current society from Marx the prophet of some never-to-be-realized worker's paradise, he remains the most impressive critic we have of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois society. The author shows how Marx's main ideas still shed light on wider concerns about culture and society and he guides the reader through Marx's notoriously difficult writings. Wolff also argues that the value of a great thinker does not depend on his or her views being true, but on other features such as originality, insight, and systematic vision. From this perspective, Marx still richly deserves to be read.
Why Read Marx Today? reinstates Marx as an important critic of current society, and not just a figure of historical interest.
|2||Class, History, and Capital||48|
|Guide to references and further reading||127|
Posted December 2, 2004
'Why Read Marx Today' is an excellent supplement to David McLellan's 'Karl Marx: Selected Writings' for two reasons. First, Wolff outlines Marx's complex theories in an understandable easily readable manner. Secondly, Wolff quotes extensively from David McLellan's book offering the reader the opportunity for an in depth analysis to form a logical assessment possibly contrary to Wolff's. <p>Unfortunately alone the book falls flat. Wolff fails to capture the passion of Marx, identify strengths in Marxist theory or, as the reader will inevitably discover, provide any reasons that Marx should be read today. Wolff outlines several reasons,perceived and unsupported by the writer, why Marx theories are misguided but fails to recognize positive aspects of Marxist theory. If you expect an answer from Wolff as to 'Why Read Marx Today' prepare to be disappointed. <P>In the end, Wolff's 'Why Read Marx Today?' is unenlightening, lacks concrete logical analysis and clarity. If there was a main point, it has yet to be found.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2004
I keep thinking that now that the 'evil empire' has ceased we can now have a more civilized discussion of Marxism. Jonathan Wolff does just this, a rational examination for the general reader. Frederick Engels at the graveside of Marx (1883) says that Marx made two discoveries: 1. historical materialism. 2. theory of surplus value. and then he explains this very nicely.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.