How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism by Eric Hobsbawm - review by Alan Ryan

Alan Ryan

Karl’s Way

How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism


Little, Brown 480pp £25 order from our bookshop

How to Change the World is such an engagingly written and enjoyable book that it would be churlish to complain that its title is entirely misleading. Anyone looking for advice on how to foment revolution, or even on how to cast their next vote, is not going to find it here. Although the title is drawn from Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach – ‘the philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point, however, is to change it’ – the book itself is a rather miscellaneous collection of chapters on Marx, Engels, the antecedents of Marxism, the publishing history of Marx’s works, their early reception by British economists, and a good deal else.

Hobsbawm’s introduction suggests, not exactly an uncertainty about who will engage with these reflections, but a hope that two very different sorts of readers might do so: the first is the general reader who is curious about what Marx thought, and the second is the reader with a

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