A Spectre, Haunting

On the Communist Manifesto

304 pages

English language

Published Dec. 20, 2022 by Haymarket Books.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

China Miéville's brilliant reading of the modern world's most controversial and enduring political document: the Communist Manifesto.

In 1848 a strange political tract was published by two emigres from Germany. Marx and Engels's apocalyptic vision of an insatiable system that penetrates every corner of the world, reduces every relationship to that of profit, and bursts asunder the old forms of production and of politics, is still a picture of a recognisable world, our world, and the vampiric energy of the system is once again highly contentious.

The Manifesto is a text that shows no sign of fading into antiquarian obscurity. Its ideas animate in different ways the work of writers like Yanis Varoufakis, Adam Tooze, Naomi Klein and the journalist Owen Jones.

China Miéville is not a writer who has been hemmed in by conventional notions of expertise or genre, and this is a strikingly imaginative take on Marx and …

3 editions

A book about how to read

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A book about how to read, and a wonderful demonstration of the method. This is about the Manifesto, it's history, its debates, its import, but it's also just about how to read generously and rigorously:

“The only reasonable way to read the Manifesto - or anything - is to be as flexible as the text itself.”

“We should strive to read as generously as possible - and to read ruthlessly beyond that generosity’s limits.”

One of the best books I've read, full stop. It made me want to dig back into Miéville's fiction, especially since The City and The City is another favorite of mine.

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