An engrossing account of the life of Karl Marx


COMMUNISM may be practically extinguished but the influence of Karl Marx lives on. Xi Jinping, the president of China, is “adapting Marxism to the Chinese context”, as the People’s Daily puts it. During the financial crisis of 2008-09 sales of “Capital”, Marx’s most significant work, soared; after Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of Britain’s Labour Party, sales of the “Communist Manifesto” spiked.

Lately anyone looking to familiarise themselves with Marx’s thought has been spoilt for choice. Last year saw the publication of Gareth Stedman Jones’s “Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion”, probably the defining guide to Marx’s philosophy and economics. Someone looking to understand Marx the man,…Continue reading

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The mysterious reggaeton bangers of Mexico’s election

FOR evidence that modern democracy has lost its pep, look back to the age of cheery campaign jingles. The art form dominated elections from America to the Philippines after the second world war. Australian political parties used them well into the 1980s. It is tempting to believe that melodious campaigns …

Redeeming Mary Magdalene

EVERY generation of artists has brought its own sensibilities and experiences to the depiction of canonical Christian stories. Giotto, an Italian painter, set Bible scenes in medieval Tuscany. Rembrandt gave his a hint of mercantile 17th-century Amsterdam. “Mary Magdalene” is similarly a retelling of some of the faith’s main events …

The maddest March: at last, a 16-seed upsets a number one

THE line separating the improbable from the impossible is hard to pin down. The annual single-elimination tournament to crown the champion of North America’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in men’s basketball is known as “March Madness”, thanks to the steady diet of upsets it produces. Every year, a few …