10 October 2011

Love And Capital, Book Review

Book description:

Brilliantly researched and wonderfully written, LOVE AND CAPITAL is a heartbreaking and dramatic saga of the family side of the man whose works would redefine the world after his death.

Drawing upon years of research, acclaimed biographer Mary Gabriel brings to light the story of Karl and Jenny Marx's marriage. We follow them as they roam Europe, on the run from governments amidst an age of revolution and a secret network of would-be revolutionaries, and see Karl not only as an intellectual, but as a protective father and loving husband, a revolutionary, a jokester, a man of tremendous passions, both political and personal.

My review:

As a biographer, Mary Gabriel is indeed ranking high on my list of researchers! There is little doubt 'Love and Capital' is an amazing compilation intended to illustrate the life of the man behind the movement we call Marxism.
Of course Karl Marx is a name few people would not know but it is abundantly clear Mary Gabriel has uncovered much many of us never would have known otherwise despite learning something of his life and ideology in the course of studies.

A biography nothing short of brilliant, it is worth noting also 'Love and Capital' can be read as the incredible history behind the father of the birth of 'scientific' socialism or simply as a novel! It is also Marx's love story with the Baron's daughter.
With 594 pages, a list of impressive characters, a political timeline which should not be overlooked and not including the 110 pages or so covering acknowledgments and their copyrights, notes and bibliographies or the index, or the surprisingly extensive photos, this is not a light bedtime story! 
It is however the best source of information written in years on the subject of Marxism. I found it interesting that he lived for i.e. in Bruxelles and later loved to do his extensive research in the British museum!

Marx is best understood if one studies not only his economics, but also his theory of history and politics.
I found that reading Mary Gabriel's flowing accounts of his family's life, particularly his nomadic ways, brought to light the myth behind this legendary philosopher, revolutionary economist and leader. By all accounts and despite its many sorrows, this was a man who focused on living a full life!

That is not however to say, I espouse any or all of his thinking on socialism!
For the sake of arguments, we will agree that the economy in world  history is determined by current ideas and in turn, history keeps up with the phases brought about by various economic institutions.

I wanted however to understand something of the historical background of Marxism and in such a system involving people holding all property and goods in common. I can not conceive letting just anyone share my house, my car or anything else I call 'mine'! Loaning it would be something else perhaps with certain exceptions.
However thanks to Mary Gabriel excellent prose, I learned much more about Jenny and Karl Marx and have now reached a better understanding of what transcended of Karl Marx novel ideas during the years he lived abroad and his eventual influence on world figures such as Lenin.

George Bernard Shaw described Marx: 'He did the greatest literary feat a man can do. Marx changed the mind of the world.'

I would be hard pressed not to give a respectful 5 stars to this one! Bravo!

About Mary Gabriel:

Mary Gabriel was educated in the United States and France, and worked in Washington and London as a Reuters editor for nearly two decades. She is the author of two previous biographies: Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored, and The Art of Acquiring: A Portrait of Etta and Claribel Cone.

I received this book free from HACHETTE as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not asked to write a positive review and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Noelle,
    What an excellent review, you certinly bring us some interesting books. Having visited the impressive memorial at his gravesite in Highgate Cemetery, and often passed the seat in The Reading Room of the British Museum where he used to do much of his research, one did wonder-as we often do with famouse people-about the human side, what he was like as a husband and Father. I must say this will be one for my bookshelves, that are filling up nicely since I have been following you Noelle! But as Canon would say, we will get more shelves!
    Love and hugs,


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