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Karl Marx, his life and environment (Oxford…
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Karl Marx, his life and environment (Oxford paperbacks university series) (original 1939; edition 1978)

by Isaiah Berlin

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537728,524 (3.85)1
Member:grunin
Title:Karl Marx, his life and environment (Oxford paperbacks university series)
Authors:Isaiah Berlin
Info:Oxford University Press (1978), Edition: 4th ed, Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library
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Tags:history, Biography, u

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Karl Marx: His Life and Environment by Isaiah Berlin (1939)

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
To my mind, and for my mind, this is the best introduction to Marx and his station. Published shortly after the outbreak of WWII in the UK (!), this is Berlin's first major work, and all these decades later now that the Cold War has come and gone, it still holds up. Definitely a seminal work by an old school public intellectual. And I love the prose style -it slides along like a heavy canoe on wet grass.
  kencf0618 | Nov 3, 2018 |
Anything by Berlin is just a joy to read ( )
1 vote Baku-X | Jan 10, 2017 |
This is a short but rigorous account onf the life and thought of Marx. Isiah Berlin seems to have read everything that Marx had read so is able to provide detailed summaries of the various currents of radical thought that Marx absorbed and to an extent unified.
Highlights for me were; P.93 showing how Marx used Hegel to create a model for human self-realization. P.9 Marx posits that history if the interaction between the lives of the actors; men engaged in the struggle for attaining self-direction and the consequences of their activities. P.100 shows his view of how the intellectual, moral and religious beliefs and values inherent in the life of capitalism come to be viewed by all sections of society as objectively and eternally valid for all mankind (but not by Marx presumably).
P.148 displays how Marx saw a juxtaposition between the fates of the Irish and the US Negroes.P.153 shows that Marx did not believe in the nation state as a viable system for human organization. P.200 includes what may be Isiah Berlin's first adoption of the phrase "final solution". I do not know enough about him to say. However it is interesting that he uses this in relation to communism rather than Nazism. He is writing before 1939 so I doubt that it had the same meaning that it generally has now. Though he may of inserted it during a later revision.
Isiah Berlin was definitely not a Marxist but his quality of synthesis is such that I feel that Marx's arguments are given a fair hearing in this book. Some of Marx's arguments are still trenchant today and perhaps the author doesn't acknowledge this enough.
1 vote Bmortime | Aug 29, 2016 |
Anything by Berlin is just a joy to read ( )
  BakuDreamer | Sep 7, 2013 |
This book was my introduction not only to Karl Marx and his thought, but to the author Isaiah Berlin. While I have fondness neither for the thought nor for the writings of Marx, I have become a fan of both the works and thoughts of Isaiah Berlin over the decades since this first encounter. Even in this early work (first published in 1939) Berlin's incisive and elegant style highlighted by meticulous scholarship is present. He brings to his study of Marx a much needed freedom from bias. While it is a short book it covers the essentials of a life that was devoted to reading and writing--unlike many other radical lives that were devoted more to the battlements and the streets. From the youth of Marx to the refolutions of the 1840s to the appearance of the first volume of Das Kapital in 1867 there is a thoroughly intense readability to this biographical portrayal of ideas. And the portrayal and analysis of ideas is why I enjoyed this book and continued to return to Berlin's other books over the ensuing years. ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0195103262, Paperback)

First published over fifty years ago, Isaiah Berlin's compelling portrait of the father of socialism has long been considered a classic of modern scholarship and the best short account written of Marx's life and thought. It provides a penetrating, lucid, and comprehensive introduction to Marx as theorist of the socialist revolution, illuminating his personality and ideas, and concentrating on those which have historically formed the central core of Marxism as a theory and practice. Berlin goes on to present an account of Marx's life as one of the most influential and incendiary social philosophers of the twentieth century and depicts the social and political atmosphere in which Marx wrote.
This edition includes a new introduction by Alan Ryan which traces the place of Berlin's Marx from its pre-World War II publication to the present, and elucidates why Berlin's portrait, in the midst of voluminous writings about Marx, remains the classic account of the personal and political side of this monumental figure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:30 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

First published over fifty years ago, Isaiah Berlin's compelling portrait of the father of socialism has long been considered a classic of modern scholarship and the best short account written of Marx's life and thought. It provides a penetrating, lucid, and comprehensive introduction to Marx as theorist of the socialist revolution, illuminating his personality and ideas, and concentrating on those which have historically formed the central core of Marxism as a theory and practice. Berlin goes on to present an account of Marx's life as one of the most influential and incendiary social philosophers of the twentieth century and depicts the social and political atmosphere in which Marx wrote. This edition includes a new introduction by Alan Ryan which traces the place of Berlin's Marx from its pre-World War II publication to the present, and elucidates why Berlin's portrait, in the midst of voluminous writings about Marx, remains the classic account of the personal and political side of this monumental figure.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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