Paperback, 462 pages
Released: January 1986
In this third volume of his definitive study of Karl Marx’s political thought, Hal Draper examines how Marx, and Marxism, have dealt with the issue of dictatorship in relation to the revolutionary use of force and repression, particularly as this debate has centered on the use of the term “dictatorship of the proletariat.” Writing with his usual wit and perception, Draper strips away the layers of misinterpretation and misinformation that have accumulated over the years to show what Marx and Engels themselves really meant by the term.
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.
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.
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.