Monday July 28th, 2014, 4:32 pm (EDT)

Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol V: War and Revolution

Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Vol V: War and Revolution
Paperback, 295 pages

ISBN: 1-58367-138-2

Released: January 2010

Price: $18

This fifth and final volume of Hal Draper’s incomparable series was completed posthumously by Draper’s collaborator Ernest Haberkern. It addresses the fact that Marx and Engels’s views on war, revolution and the relation between the two evolved over time in response to the turbulent political and military history of the nineteenth century. The result has been that anyone can select a text to prove that Marx and Engels held the author’s position. The solution is to review the statements of Marx and Engels in their historical context.

This series, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, represents an exhaustive and definitive treatment of Marx’s political theory, policy, and practice. Marx and Engels paid continuing attention to a host of problems of revolution, in addition to constructing their “grand theory.” All these political and social analyses are brought together in these volumes, as the author draws not only on the original writings of Marx and Engels but also on the sources that they used in formulating their ideas and the many commentaries on their published work.

Draper’s series is a massive and immensely valuable scholarly undertaking. The bibliography alone will stand as a rich resource for years to come. Yet despite the scholarly treatment, the writing is direct, forceful, and unpedantic throughout, and will appeal to the beginning student as much as the advanced reader.

This fifth volume in Hal Draper’s magnificently lucid account of Marx’s politics is just as enlightening, tough-minded, and encyclopedic as the volumes that preceded it. Draper—whose posthumous drafts for this volume have been ably polished and completed by his long-time collaborator Ernie Haberkern—was one of the greatest Marx scholars ever. Do you want to know what Marx really said and thought about war and revolution, after 150 years of partisan mudslinging and misreading? Draper knows—and in this volume he shares his knowledge with consummate precision, unfailing insight, and no-nonsense good cheer.

—David N. Smith, University of Kansas

An extraordinarily stunning work written in a fresh, open, often amusing style, which comes as a welcome relief after the turgidities of so much Marx writing. Despite its length and heavy reliance on citation, the easy prose and the intrinsic importance and interest of the subject matter make this volume pleasant and quick to read.

—Robert Heilbroner, The New York Review of Books

This is a work of Marxology in the best sense of the term. I am convinced that it is and will remain an indispensable source for all serious students of Marxian ideas in the broad field of politics and political science. There is nothing in the existing literature which is even remotely comparable to it.

—Paul M. Sweezy, founding editor, Monthly Review

Hal Draper (1914-1990) was a socialist writer, activist, and life-long advocate for “socialism from below.” He served as editor for a number of socialist periodicals and was the author of many works, including the magisterial five-volume series, Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution.