Book Review: PENGUIN CLASSICS: Marx Capital Vols. 1-3

Figure 1A: The first volume of Marx's Capital.

Figure 1A: The first volume of Marx’s Capital.

I first ran across this new translation at a bookstore I was visiting at the time. Seeing the first thick volume and the more readable English, I jumped at the possibility of reading about this and understanding a system that my grandfather fought against since it appeared in Egypt in AD 1952. He left that communist country and tried to find another place in North Africa to go to, but all across the continent, Karl Marx and his ideas were the talk of the town and governments collapsed bringing in the reign of the proletariat.

We took to boats to cross the Atlantic, some of us drowned, and upon making it to the Caribbean, we found Cuba now had Castro with Marxist-Leninism. Then we headed to Central America and the same thing happened. What was the overall message of socialism/communism/the uprising of the proletariat?

The godless communists, as my grandfather referred to them, stole some of our ancestral lands, bankrupted Egypt’s economy and damaged some of the Nile’s life giving waters; but who were these guys?  I embarked on a journey and read the Green Book of Mu`ammar Al-Qadh-dhafi,  Selected Writings of Joseph V. Stalin, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, V.I. Lenin’s What is to be Done, Gamel Abdel Nasser’s Philosophy of the Revolution as well as the Selected Writings of Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (also known as the Little Red Book).

So the source of all of this…? it kept referring to some grand narrative. Looking for National Socialism? Consult Mein Kampf. Looking for Americanism? Consult US Constitution. But what is the mother-book of this strange system I grew to despise in my youth and my grandfather sought to flee from along with the rest of my family?

I found a copy of Das Kapital, but it was quite old and some of the principles mentioned did not have notes and it seemed hastily put together; but I tried to power through the work. What I had was five volumes. I had a fuller understanding but still needed clearer language to read it through.

Figure 2A: The second volume of the Capital.

Figure 2A: The second volume of the Capital.


Now Penguin has provided Das Kapital in English as The Capital. Great! Now I can have a greater understanding of the battle between Americanism and Socialism on a mechanical level. The first volume is 1,084 pages with an 84 page introduction which I am almost through!

The second volume is 599 pages with another hefty introduction. As for the third volume, I have only just received it and will have to wait until I get to it. I look forward to giving a more comprehensive review over the whole series. In the meantime, take a look at Penguin and get the three volumes. They are worth if and will give you a deeper understanding of world events.


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