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A reprint of the 1934 'enlarged edition', a volume that added newly translated material to the title essay. It includes an introduction by Engels [Do you want to know that this dictatorship of the proletariat looks like? Then look at the Paris Commune. That was the dictatorship of the proletariat], Marx's first and second 'Manifesto On The Franco-Prussian War', the corresp A reprint of the 1934 'enlarged edition', a volume that added newly translated material to the title essay. It includes an introduction by Engels [Do you want to know that this dictatorship of the proletariat looks like? Then look at the Paris Commune. That was the dictatorship of the proletariat], Marx's first and second 'Manifesto On The Franco-Prussian War', the correspondence of Marx & Engels on the Commune, and Engels' 'The Program of the Blanquist Fugitives from the Paris Commune'.


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A reprint of the 1934 'enlarged edition', a volume that added newly translated material to the title essay. It includes an introduction by Engels [Do you want to know that this dictatorship of the proletariat looks like? Then look at the Paris Commune. That was the dictatorship of the proletariat], Marx's first and second 'Manifesto On The Franco-Prussian War', the corresp A reprint of the 1934 'enlarged edition', a volume that added newly translated material to the title essay. It includes an introduction by Engels [Do you want to know that this dictatorship of the proletariat looks like? Then look at the Paris Commune. That was the dictatorship of the proletariat], Marx's first and second 'Manifesto On The Franco-Prussian War', the correspondence of Marx & Engels on the Commune, and Engels' 'The Program of the Blanquist Fugitives from the Paris Commune'.

30 review for The Civil War in France

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jaffe

    Need more Marx audiobooks. Also reminded me of the many reasons to read uncle Karl one of the underrated ones is the sick burns.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Lather

    There is an old saying in France (a French prosecutor had once said it): A Paris of 1871, in that Paris everyone was guilty; you are guilty if you don't have money to get out. To sum up my review, I would say- it is the kind of text, which is produced rarely in history.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Tidwell

    I've read six texts by Marx now, more if you include a few by Engels, and this is by far my favorite of them all. Marx brings the poetic language of "18th Brumaire" to this book, but unlike "Brumaire," he doesn't wrongfully assume a scholar's knowledge of the events he's chronicling from the reader. As well, his snark, characteristically acidic, is even stronger here. Fantastic read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wayne

    "The government of Versailles cries, 'Incendiarism!' and whispers this cue to all its agents, down to the remotest hamlet, to hunt up its enemies everywhere as suspect of professional incendiarism. The bourgeoisie of the whole world, which looks complacently upon the wholesale massacre after the battle, is convulsed by horror at the desecration of brick and mortar! When governments give state licences to their navies to 'kill, burn, and destroy,' is that licence for incendiarism? When the British "The government of Versailles cries, 'Incendiarism!' and whispers this cue to all its agents, down to the remotest hamlet, to hunt up its enemies everywhere as suspect of professional incendiarism. The bourgeoisie of the whole world, which looks complacently upon the wholesale massacre after the battle, is convulsed by horror at the desecration of brick and mortar! When governments give state licences to their navies to 'kill, burn, and destroy,' is that licence for incendiarism? When the British troops wantonly set fire to the Capitol at Washington and to the summer palace of the Chinese emperor, was that incendiarism? … To be burned down has always been the inevitable fate of all buildings situated in the front of battle of all the regular armies of the world. But in the war of the enslaved against their enslavers, the only justifiable war in history, this is by no means to hold good!" Astonishing, once again, how the exact same patterns that we saw in 1871 are repeated again and again, the most recent being, obviously, this exact point in history. There are dozens of great quotes from this one that I could pull up but this one felt the most striking to me. Favorite bits are when Marx loses his cool though. "[Adolphe] Thiers, that monstrous gnome..."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michael Boyte

    Our boy comes through with a master class in historical materialism, a skewering of the enemies of the people, and world historic summation of the lessons of the Paris Commune, and does in 60 or so pages. "But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made State machinery, and wiled it for its own purposes."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I got a lovely old edition of this from the University Library. It has a slightly grudging introduction by Engels and appendices of resolutions by the General Council of the International Working Men's Association. Most interestingly, there is a speech given by Lenin in 1908 on lessons from the Commune, which brings out the point that the initial French Revolution has begun a tide of European nationalism, but by the turn of the 20th century patriotic feeling had become damaging to the revolution I got a lovely old edition of this from the University Library. It has a slightly grudging introduction by Engels and appendices of resolutions by the General Council of the International Working Men's Association. Most interestingly, there is a speech given by Lenin in 1908 on lessons from the Commune, which brings out the point that the initial French Revolution has begun a tide of European nationalism, but by the turn of the 20th century patriotic feeling had become damaging to the revolutionary cause. This is also notable as the international significance of the Commune seems to be judged by history as much smaller than the 1789-94 revolution. Which is emphasised, I suppose, by the title of this book, 'The Civil War in France'. Although the Commune had geopolitical significance, its ideas didn't reverberate around the world in the same way as those of the initial ('Great') French Revolution. As Lenin was speaking decades after the Commune, his tone is measured. Marx's central work, by contrast, is very angry indeed. It consists of an address delivered mere days after the fall of the Commune. He spends quite a bit of it personally abusing Thiers, the French president he holds personally responsible for the repression of the Commune and resulting wholesale slaughter. More broadly, his analysis brings home the sheer complexity of political factionalism in France at the time. It also highlights the achievements of the Commune's short lifespan, which were impressively pragmatic economic and administrative reforms. As mentioned before, it is fascinating to compare the 1789-1794 revolution with the Paris Commune, which could be seen as a later manifestation of the former's ideas. What strikes me, in this commentary and elsewhere, is that the first revolution was one of young, idealistic men, whereas the Commune consisted of middle aged men, disillusioned by war and political infighting. Whereas strong personalities emerged from 1789-1794, there is no Robespierre or Danton in 1871. That said, the Commune didn't last long enough, managing a mere 70 days, for this happen. Moreover, you could argue that the lack personality politics demonstrates a more fundamental democracy was at work, a genuine 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Marx certainly really doesn't single out particular Communards for praise, despite excoriating many on the other side by name. I recommend this book to supplement your understanding of the Paris Commune and its immediate aftermath, but not as an introduction. Marx assumes total understanding of events straight off. I suggest, 'That Terrible Year' by Alaistair Horne as a good starting point.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Luke

    This is history as it should be- engaged yet well-referenced. His description of the policies established by the Commune are an excellent guide to what the first stages of a genuine workers' state will look like. Likewise, his condemnation of the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie is decisive: "The civilization and justice of bourgeois order comes out in its lurid light whenever the slaves and drudges of that order rise against their masters. Then this civilization and justice stand forth as undisguis This is history as it should be- engaged yet well-referenced. His description of the policies established by the Commune are an excellent guide to what the first stages of a genuine workers' state will look like. Likewise, his condemnation of the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie is decisive: "The civilization and justice of bourgeois order comes out in its lurid light whenever the slaves and drudges of that order rise against their masters. Then this civilization and justice stand forth as undisguised savagery and lawless revenge.... The bourgeoisie of the whole world, which looks complacently upon the wholesale massacre after the battle, is convulsed by horror at the desecration of brick and mortar!... the bourgeois of our days considers himself the legitimate successor to the baron of old, who thought every weapon in his own hand fair against the plebeian, while in the hands of the plebeian a weapon of any kind constituted in itself a crime." This book also tends to put to rest the old canard that socialists are dogmatically in favor of gun control- Marx is quite critical of it here, recognizing that it is simply a means to disarm the working people and forestall any revolutionary change.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Мануэль

    It is awkward to rate a series of speeches, a collection of letters, excerpts, a historical essay, etc. I have to say that Fedorovsky's essay is a great addition to this book. Not only does it provide context, it also connects Marx and Lenin, showing how they work only side by side if one is to make sense of the Commune as a new political form and its relationship to the Soviet. As a historical document, Marx's speeches are wonderful, but far too detailed. It is impossible to judge it on this ac It is awkward to rate a series of speeches, a collection of letters, excerpts, a historical essay, etc. I have to say that Fedorovsky's essay is a great addition to this book. Not only does it provide context, it also connects Marx and Lenin, showing how they work only side by side if one is to make sense of the Commune as a new political form and its relationship to the Soviet. As a historical document, Marx's speeches are wonderful, but far too detailed. It is impossible to judge it on this account, except to say that its writing seemed to be written for a European audience of that decade, whereas some of his other texts clearly have a general audience in mind. Engels' introduction is very interesting as it provides even more context and an interesting critique of Anarchism. Lenin's writings, with this context, show precisely how loyal he was to Marx, even obsessively so. It seems the more I read Lenin, the more I see him going back time and time again to Marx to make sure he understood every detail of every sentence, and reproducing that method upon new historical conditions. There is much to be learned here, but above all, the notion that Marx continues to be gutted by the academy needs to be addressed urgently.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Valdemar Gomes

    really cool and will check again when studying the civil war. Specially enthusiastic when it talks directly about the commune, but got me bored af from start to finish also fuck any of engels' contribution to this, that pesky fuck

  10. 5 out of 5

    Deedra

    Audible:This was a good read.So many ideas and relatable incidences.David Stifel was a great narrator.I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

  11. 4 out of 5

    Colin Bruce Anthes

    Started reading yesterday, not knowing today would be the anniversary of the Paris Commune's commencement. Though it was destroyed with brutal violence, the accomplishments of its short life were remarkable.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mawr

    A lesson in history, that revolutions alone aren't enough: they must be defended, if they are to last.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luke Pickrell

    It helps to know the history behind the events Marx describes! Long live the communards.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    the second to last section is the best.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Appox7

    Very interesting, well written analysis of the Paris Commune. My favourite Marxist text.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Palden Gyal

    Engels comments on the Paris Commune in the preface, “Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship of the proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the proletariat.” [p. 22] It is interesting to see how Marxists and Anarchists debated and attempted to interpret the Commune according to their own interests. I think it w Engels comments on the Paris Commune in the preface, “Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship of the proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the proletariat.” [p. 22] It is interesting to see how Marxists and Anarchists debated and attempted to interpret the Commune according to their own interests. I think it was clearly an anarchist movement given the nature of the communes and their organization, but Marxists and other socialists claimed that it was largely inspired by communist ideals. Well, there are many features of the Commune to fit several interpretations, but it seems anarchism of Bakunin and Proudhon don't fail any of the features the Commune represented. Marx was wrong to assume that the 'dregs of the bourgeoisie' intellectuals and lumpenproletariat were futile and had no role in a socialist revolution. Bakunin rightly predicted their revolutionary capabilities. However, Marx appropriated the Commune by saying: "The multiplicity of interpretations to which the Commune has been subjected, and the multiplicity of interests which construed it in their favor, show that it was a thoroughly expansive political form, while all the previous forms of government had been emphatically repressive. Its true secret was this: It was essentially a working class government, the product of the struggle of the producing against the appropriating class, the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economical emancipation of labor." [p. 66]

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A fascinating, and informative history of the context that gave rise to the Paris Commune, and general insight into its workings. If by any chance you liked the idea of the Paris Commune, then I highly recommend you read Pyotr Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread which explores the failings of the Paris Commune, and ways to conquer them. Most importantly, this book reveals Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels's libertarian conception of socialism. Evidenced by Engel's clarification of the most (in my op A fascinating, and informative history of the context that gave rise to the Paris Commune, and general insight into its workings. If by any chance you liked the idea of the Paris Commune, then I highly recommend you read Pyotr Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread which explores the failings of the Paris Commune, and ways to conquer them. Most importantly, this book reveals Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels's libertarian conception of socialism. Evidenced by Engel's clarification of the most (in my opinion) controversial terms of left politics—Dictatorship of the Proletariat—in the afterword: "Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat." Bereft of bourgeois elitism it is evident that the Paris Commune is not about heroes, but about regular working people who took their lives into their own hands, and who let out cry for freedom so deep that its faint echoes we still feel today. It is among the first modern, recorded expressions of true freedom! Vive la commune!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean Mccarrey

    While I have a hard time giving this book as much as three stars I did think it was quite a bit better than the Communist Manifesto, which I gave two stars to. The things I liked about this book were the expressions of propaganda so flagrantly used by Marx to express one of the more unique periods in French history and the way that he wrote rather clearly compared with some of his other more murky papers on political theory. For me, this 'book' was a great study in the application of political s While I have a hard time giving this book as much as three stars I did think it was quite a bit better than the Communist Manifesto, which I gave two stars to. The things I liked about this book were the expressions of propaganda so flagrantly used by Marx to express one of the more unique periods in French history and the way that he wrote rather clearly compared with some of his other more murky papers on political theory. For me, this 'book' was a great study in the application of political science to the real world, if you can call it that. What I did not like about it, was that Marx wrote so thoroughly about Paris and the very detailed actions of the people there when he was never actually in Paris at this time. I had a Wayne's World moment (the scene where Chris Farely playing a security guard gives Wayne an oddly specific itinerary of Mr. Big's schedule) when I realized how much of this was pure b.s. and fantasy. If Marx would deign to make up stories about the heroics of women with "antiquity" like courage, then what else did he completely b.s.? And of course, there was not even the most vague attempt at appearing unbiased. Marx continually berates Thiers and lauds the Commune to which every fault he says it had to be done. I felt like I was watching FOX News or something. There are also some odd inconsistencies with the rest of this book but I won't spend the time to go into them. Overall though I think it was worth reading, if a little bit of a whack job.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cade

    It was okay. Lots of ranting about the government of France. I don't know that much about the history of France outside of the broad timeline high points (Napoleon, French-Indian war, they hate Britain, lots of WWI & WWII were fought on their territory, and currently they have issues with the Muslim minority), so I'm not that familiar with the Paris Commune from a historical standpoint, and the book makes me want to learn more, as I think knowledge of the overall world setting at that time would It was okay. Lots of ranting about the government of France. I don't know that much about the history of France outside of the broad timeline high points (Napoleon, French-Indian war, they hate Britain, lots of WWI & WWII were fought on their territory, and currently they have issues with the Muslim minority), so I'm not that familiar with the Paris Commune from a historical standpoint, and the book makes me want to learn more, as I think knowledge of the overall world setting at that time would add a lot of perspective. It was interesting to read Marx's report on the formation of the commune and such. Like any politically motivated writing though, it definitely is written with a very black and white view of the world. The existing government of France and the Bourgeois are ALL evil and bad. The proletariat is always inevitably good and without fault. The bourgeois are cowards. Those of the Commune were heroes down to the last and were running to fight for the security of the Commune...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rjones2818

    An excellent look into one of those lesser covered (at least here in the US) pieces of history. The French had just been soundly defeated by the Prussians and the proletariat/citizens of Paris went into revolt. The resulting Paris Commune is looked upon either as a glorious event or with great disdain, depending on your view point. Marx and the others gathered in this collection give their views as to the events of the day. It is quite powerful and well worth the read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Shatha Al-Sheikh

    Marx's writings about The Civil War in France present a detailed historical account of the Parisian events and the short lived reign of the Paris Commune and its majestic history -when working people rose up and took control of Paris and established the best democratic system the world has ever known, a system that has given us a glimpse of what socialism would really look like- and a forceful polemic against the barbarity and brutality of the capitalist system and those who stand in for it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Abi

    Hilarious in classic Marxist overblown style. I thought he was a bit harsh on poor Thiers, having a go at him for being short more often than he criticised his politics. 'Monstrous gnome' is a bit much. Although it was pretty funny. Yep, basically, I'm not a Marxist, so I don't appreciate this in the spirit it was intended. It was fairly interesting as a historical document, though.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steve Gordon

    "Working men’s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class. Its exterminators history has already nailed to that eternal pillory from which all the prayers of their priest will not avail to redeem them."

  24. 4 out of 5

    Catfish

    This was one resource for my undergraduate paper entitled "An Introduction to the Communist/Anarchist Debate"... I found it wonderfully useful especially because thinkers from all over the political spectrum wrote about it including Engels, Bakunin and Lenin.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Keir

    Marx was fundamentally writing as an outsider. Much hand wringing is performed as to the immorality of the French Bourgeois however the book is sadly largely without insight, theoretical or practical.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    In which Marx reviews the Paris Commune, and how and whether it was Marxist - and all as it happens. The poor-quality translation - though to be fair, I have not read it in the original German, it might have been badly written from the start - detracts from his explanation of the issues involved.

  27. 4 out of 5

    babak haghighi

    brilliant case study on 19th century france

  28. 4 out of 5

    David

    good reporting...that stuff about the Paris Commune is cool

  29. 4 out of 5

    sologdin

    doleful consideration of the destruction of the paris commune and all of its cooperatively-managed male hair care salons.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    A phenomenal work by Marx the historian.

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