Karl Marx: A Life
Paradox and passion were the animating spirits of Karl Marx's life, which often reads like a novel by Laurence Sterne or George Eliot. "Imagine Rousseau, Voltaire, and Hegel fused into one person," said a contemporary, "and you have Dr. Marx." In this stunning book, the first major biography of Marx since the end of the Cold War, Francis Wheen gives us not a socialist ogre but a fascinating, ultimately humane man. Marx's marriage to Jenny von Westphalen, whose devotion was tested by decades of poverty and exile, is as affecting a love story offered by history, while his friendship with Friedrich Engels is by turns hilarious and inspiring. Wheen does not, however, shy away from Marx's work. Was he, as his detractors have claimed, a self-hating Jew? What did Marx really mean by his famous line, "Religion is the opiate of the masses"? Is Capital deserving of the ridicule with which modern-day economists have dismissed it? Marx lived both at the center and on the fringes of his age. He also changed the world. With Karl Marx, Francis Wheen has written a hugely entertaining biography of one of history's most unforgettable players.