A major biography of the man who, more than any other, made the twentieth century. Written by an author of great repute.
The history of the 20th century is Marx's legacy. Not since Jesus Christ has an obscure pauper inspired such global devotion – or been so calamitously misinterpreted. The end of the century is a good moment to strip away the mythology and try to rediscover Marx the man. There have been many thousands of books on Marxism, but almost all are written by academics and zealots for whom it is a near blaspemy to treat him as a figure of flesh and blood.
In the past few years there have been excellent and successful biographies of many eminent Victorians and yet the most influential of them has remained untouched. In this book Francis Wheen, for the first time, presens Marx the man in all his brilliance and frailty – as a poverty-stricken Prussian emigre who became a middle-class English gentleman; as an angry agitator who spent much of his adult life in scholarly silence in the British Museum Reading Room; as a gregarious and convivial host who fell out with almost all his friends; as a devoted family man who impregnated his housemaid; as a deeply earnest philosopher who loved drink, cigars and jokes.