Love and Capital, Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution, by Mary Gabriel, Little, Brown and Co.

Love and Capital is a biography of Karl Marx and his family: His wife Jenny, his seven children, his closest friend, Friedrich Engels, and the Marxes’ life-long domestic helper, Helene Demuth. The story begins in the early 19th century, when kings were believed to be God’s earthly emissaries and the working classes toiled so the aristocracy need not. It unfolds as Marx hones his theories on this unjust system and its dangerous offspring capitalism. He decides to answer that new system with a book he would call Capital.

We see in Love and Capital a family that sacrifices everything for that work and an idea the world would come to know as Marxism but which existed in their lifetimes only as a storm brewing in Marx’s very turbulent brain. It is the story of a love between a husband and a wife, which remained passionate and consuming despite the deaths of four children, a lifetime of poverty, social ostracism and the ultimate betrayal when Marx fathered another woman’s child. It is the story of three young women who adored their father, despite his innumeralble flaws, and believed in the promise of his ideas like a religion, even at the cost of their own childhoods, even at the cost of their futures — two of Marx’s daughters committed suicide. It is the story of a group of brilliant, combative, exasperating, funny, passionate and ultimately tragic figures caught up in the revolutions sweeping Europe in the 19th century. It is also the story of the development of modern capitalism and the communist, socialist and labor movement alternatives to that system which developed as the formerly politically mute workers came to recognize the power inherent in their numbers.

§ 3 Responses to Love and Capital, Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution, by Mary Gabriel, Little, Brown and Co.

  • Erich Fromm explained that Marx was perverted into Soviet style communism by Lenin and others. and that Marx believed that capital should serve man and not vice versa (capitalism). Fromm saw little difference between serving a elite government (Soviet communism) and an elite management (Amrerican style capitalism). Derek Hoggett, Founder of The Fromm Club and a closet Italian.

    • marycgabriel says:

      Derek,
      Fromm was absolutely right about the misuse of Marx’s ideas. The communism practiced by Lenin and Stalin would have been abhorent to Marx because it repressed people, depriving them of their most basic rights and imposing state control. That is exactly what Marx fought against. Sadly it is difficult to convince people that Marx is not the author of 20th century communism. Thanks for your comment.
      Best,
      Mary

  • Mary,
    Thank you for your warm comments about Fromm. I enjoyed your appearance on Charlie Rose very much. As an Englishman living in Texas for half my life, I sympathized with your dismay at the selfishness of our culture. That’s why I recently restarted the Fromm Club – so that younger people can receive the wisdom that there is a different way of living. Like Van Gogh who was anonymous for eighty years after his death, I hope to resurrect the wisdom and compassion of Fromm. DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin said: “Life is the shape it is for a purpose. When all the hurt and waste falls away, all that is left is the beauty.” Fromm said that every generation produces a relative few who genuinely care about their society but against opposition improve it. Your eyes show you care too. If there is any way I can help with your mission, let me know. Derek.

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