The Sunday Salon: The Communist Manifesto

As part of The Sunday Salon – a blogging experiment where readers post brief articles on the books they’re currently reading – here’s the tome I’m perusing today: The Communist Manifesto, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It is a document designed to capture the essential nature of communism in the form pushed by European revolutionaries in the mid nineteenth century, as agreed at a London committee meeting.

Oddly, this edition begins with an introduction that takes up fully half of the book. Thanks, but that’s not what I paid for. Then the reader gets treated to a dozen prefaces that seem to take up half of the remaining half. But Bert and Ernie – sorry, Marx and Engels – soon launch into their revolutionary tract. What an eye-opener. It’s great to get definitions of ‘proletariat’ and ‘bourgeois’ from the horses’ mouths. And, thus far, it’s clearly written and straightforward.

I’m reading the book as research for the novel I’m currently writing. I wouldn’t call this primary research, because my novel does not deal directly with communism. But I’d feel a bit sheepish writing about pre-revolutionary Russia and not having read The Communist Manifesto (or Capital).

The book is available for free online.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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