A thoughtful and informed review of Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life, by Jonathan Sperber, a study that puts Marx back in the epoch and amid the controversies in which he lived. According to Gray (the reviewer),
I wonder what the late Eric Hobsbawm would have thought of this book. In the essays collected in How to Change the World, he seems to have reached some of the same conclusions, but with a great difference: Hobsbawm was not very interested in an academic study of Marx and Marxism, but rather in "changing the world", trying to make it better — more equal, more fair, more liveable — which has been and continues to be the great project of those who have called themselves Marxists. Of course Marx alone cannot be taken as a guide for action in a world he never knew, our world of jet planes and Internet and a massive shift of political power away from Europe and toward the BRICS. But reading him can sure stimulate our thinking, the new thinking we need today.