M. J. Wert, Choice Reviews

Review of The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography

Readers are lucky to finally have this English translation of Musto’s intellectual biography of Karl Marx’s later years. First published in Italian in 2016, this concise book offers both a biographical look into Marx’s last years and the changes that occurred in his theoretical views. Musto (sociology, York Univ., Canada) lists the many works that were published in disciplines not typically associated with Marx, for example, anthropology and ethnography, or in fields that he is often accused of misrepresenting, like the economic history of India. Readers learn much about Marx’s intellectual curiosity and interactions with activists and scholars in Russia, which occupied much of his later life study. Along the way, Musto clears up the many misunderstandings of Marx, conveying, for example, that Marx did not believe that interpretive frameworks based on Western European history should be slavishly applied to other contexts, and that he was not an economic determinist. Accusations of Orientalism also miss the mark when looking at Marx’s later writings. To read the Communist Manifesto in college and then readily dismiss Marx is a mistake, and Musto’s book explains why this is true.

Published in:

Choice Reviews

Date Published

1 October, 2021


M. J. Wert