From International Socialism (1st series), No.59, June 1973, p.24.
Transcribed & marked up by by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
Karl Marx – Man and Fighter
Boris Nicolaievsky and Otto Maenchen-Helfen
Allen Lane: The Penguin Press, £4.00
This is a welcome reprint of a book first published in English in 1936. Among the various biographies of Marx, this one emphasises Marx the active revolutionary, hounded from Germany and then France for his brilliant socialist journalism, driven into appalling poverty in London, the Marx of the Communist League and the International Working Men’s Association.
Many comrades will find this book exceptionally interesting. One of its pleasant characteristics is the way the picture of Marx is painted, as it were, warts and all. We learn of Marx the student, rather lazy and a bit of a boozer, and Marx the London pub-crawler, almost arrested in the Tottenham Court Road for chucking stones at the street lamps. Marx’s mother pops up too, with her famous lament: ‘If Karl had only made capital instead of ...’
Generally, the authors give a very clear exposition of the various political struggles in which Karl Marx was engaged in the course of his life, although the picture of the situation in Germany and Europe generally in 1848 is, I thought, rather too compressed and difficult to follow. But altogether it’s a good book. The only pity is that its price will make it more difficult for the life of Marx to become known to the new generation of revolutionary Marxist workers. Readers should ensure their local library orders a copy – happily the number of potential working-class readers is growing every day.
Last updated on 25.12.2007