Reading List

Key Marxist Thought: a Verso reading list

Unnamed-

This August we are publishing Workers and Capital, the long-awaited classic of the Italian workers’ movement by Mario Tronti – now available in English for the first time! Workers and Capital is universally recognised as the most important work produced by operaismo, a current of political thought emerging in the 1960s that revolutionised the institutional and extra-parliamentary Left in Italy and beyond.

Here we bring you a selected list of books on Marxist thought: all 50% off until September 30th as part of our Back to University/School reading sale. See more here.

Over five decades since it was first published, Workers and Capital is a key text in the history of the international workers’ movement, yet only now appears in English translation for the first time. Far from simply an artefact of the intense political conflicts of the 1960s, Tronti’s work offers extraordinary tools for understanding the powerful shifts in the nature of work and class composition in recent decades.

For the first time ever, this book brings together all of his essential political and historical writings in one volume. These writings allow us to see the depth and range of Marx’s mature work from the tumultuous revolutions of 1848 that rocked European society through to the end of his life. Including The Communist Manifesto, The Class Struggles in France and The Critique of the Gotha Programme, this volume shows Marx at his most astute, analysing the forces of global capitalism as they played out in actual events.

For nearly forty years, David Harvey has written and lectured on Capital, becoming one of the world’s foremost Marx scholars. Based on his recent lectures, this current volume—finally bringing together his guides to volumes I, II and much of III—presents this depth of learning to a broader audience, guiding first-time readers through a fascinating and deeply rewarding text. A Companion to Marx’s Capital offers fresh, original, and sometimes critical interpretations of a book that changed the course of history and, as Harvey intimates, may do so again.

In The Origin of Capitalism, a now-classic work of history, Ellen Meiksins Wood offers readers a clear and accessible introduction to the theories and debates concerning the birth of capitalism, imperialism, and the modern nation state.

Erik Olin Wright has distilled decades of work into this concise and tightly argued manifesto: analyzing the varieties of anticapitalism, assessing different strategic approaches, and laying the foundations for a society dedicated to human flourishing. How to Be an Anticapitalist in the Twenty-First Century is an urgent and powerful argument for socialism, and an unparalleled guide to help us get there

Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in one complete volume.

What makes a fascist? Are there character traits that make someone more likely to vote for the far right? The Authoritarian Personality is not only one of the most significant works of social psychology ever written, it also marks a milestone in the development of Adorno’s thought, showing him grappling with the problem of fascism and the reasons for Europe’s turn to reaction. Over half a century later and with the rise of right-wing populism and the reemergence of the far-right in recent years, this hugely influential study remains as insightful and relevant as ever.

What is the relationship between capitalism and mental health? In his most unsettling book to date, Franco “Bifo” Berardi embarks on an exhilarating journey through philosophy, psychoanalysis and current events, searching for the social roots of the mental malaise of our age. 

A classic study of modern philosophy's founder, translated into English for the first time.

An epic new biography of Karl Marx for the 200th anniversary of his birth. Building on the work of previous biographers, Liedman employs a commanding knowledge of the nineteenth century to create a definitive portrait of Marx and his vast contribution to the way the world understands itself. He shines a light on Marx’s influences, explains his political and intellectual interventions, and builds on the legacy of his thought. Liedman shows how Marx’s masterpiece, Capital, illuminates the essential logic of a system that drives dizzying wealth, grinding poverty, and awesome technological innovation to this day.

In his most systematic book to date, renowned Italian theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi tackles this question through a solid yet visionary analysis of the three fundamental concepts of possibility, potency, and power. Overcoming any temptation of giving in to despair or nostalgia, Berardi proposes the notion of futurability as a way to remind us that even within the darkness of our current crisis, still lies dormant the horizon of possibility.

Written by one of political theory’s leading thinkers, The Philosophy of Marx examines all the key areas of Marx’s writings in their wider historical and theoretical context—including the concepts of class struggle, ideology, humanism, progress, determinism, commodity fetishism, and the state. Etienne Balibar opens a gateway into the thought of one of history’s great minds.

“These bracing essays express hard truths and grounded hopes as they help us to rethink a past too much with us still. Portraying a history of oppression and resistance made at the intersections of social identities, Roediger makes sophisticated analyses of culture and political economy accessible to scholars and to activists.”

– Kimberlé Crenshaw, Columbia University School of Law

A masterful survey of the history of Marxist philosophy of science.

An explosive novel of Italy’s revolutionary 1969 by leading Italian novelist. “We Want Everything” is ringing through the streets. Wrought in spare and measured prose, Balestrini’s novel depicts an explosive uprising. Introduced by Rachel Kushner, the author of the best-selling The Flamethrowers, We Want Everything is the incendiary fictional account of events that led to a decade of revolt.

A Civil War is a history of the wartime Italian Resistance, recounted by a historian who, as a young man, took part in the struggle against Mussolini’s fascist Republic. Since its publication in Italy, Claudio Pavone’s masterwork has become indispensable to anyone seeking to understand this period and its continuing importance for the nation’s identity.

Eleanor Marx is one of the most tragically overlooked radical figures in history, usually overshadowed by her father, Karl. But not only did she edit, translate, transcribe and collaborate with her father, she also led an extraordinary life as a labour organiser, trade unionist, translator, actor, writer and feminist. 

A material analysis of the sign which deepens Marx’s critique of political economy for spectacular times.

A classic work of Marxist analysis, available unabridged for the first time in this beautiful design.

Lefebvre's classic analysis of daily life under capitalism in this beautifully designed complete volume.

In this ambitious and original study, Stathis Kouvelakis paints a rich panorama of the key intellectual and political figures in the effervescence of German thought before the 1848 revolutions. This new edition of the book includes a long interview with Kouvelakis which puts the work in context.

Women’s Oppression Today is a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism. In this updated edition, Michèle Barrett surveys the social and intellectual changes that have taken place since the book's original publication, and looks back at the political climate in which the book was written. 

Representing Capital, Fredric Jameson's first book-length engagement with Marx's magnum opus, is a unique work of scholarship that records the progression of Marx's thought as if it were a musical score. These immense segments overlap each other to combine and develop on new levels in the same way that capital itself does, stumbling against obstacles that it overcomes by progressive expansions, which are in themselves so many leaps into the unknown.

In this passionate and polemical classic work, Norman Geras argues that the view that Marx broke with all conceptions of human nature in 1845 is wrong. rather, his later writings are informed by an idea of a specifically human nature that fulfill both explanatory and normative functions. Over one hundred and thirty years after Marx’s death, this book—combining the strengths of analytical philosophy and classical Marxism—rediscovers a central part of his heritage.

A new beautiful edition of the Communist Manifesto, combined with Lenin’s key revolutionary tract.

Re-published to coincide with Marx's bicentenary, these books are essential reading on Marx. Includes: On Karl Marx by Ernst Bloch, Really Existing Nationalisms: A Post-Communist View from Marx and Engels by Erica Brenner, From Marxism to Post-Marxism? by Göran Therborn, and The Theory of Need in Marx by Agnes Heller. Click on the links above to add to your cart.

A milestone in the development of post-war Marxist thought.

This synoptic essay considers the nature and evolution of the Marxist theory that developed in Western Europe, after the defeat of the proletarian rebellions in the West and the isolation of the Russian Revolution in the East in the early 1920s. It focuses particularly on the work of Lukács, Korsch and Gramsci; Adorno, Marcuse and Benjamin; Sartre and Althusser; and Della Volpe and Colletti, together with other figures within Western Marxism from 1920 to 1975.

Essays include critiques of Lukács by Gareth Stedman Jones and Michael Löwy; a survey of the Frankfurt School by Göran Therborn; an assessment of the legacy of Gramsci, by John Merrington; exposition and criticism of the work of Sartre by André Gorz and Ronald Aronson; major assessments of Althusser by Norman Geras and André Glucksmann and a wide-ranging interview with the Italian philosopher Lucio Colletti that provides an overview of Western Marxism.

A lively and lucid introduction to the work of Theodor Adorno.

Groundbreaking examination of the birth, development and impact of Feminist consciousness.

Sensitive but uncompromising socialist-feminist critique of the nuclear family.

“His argument ... takes on an exceptional fluency and subtlety, touching many of the key points of socialist morality, socialist history and the socialist future. Its core is a very elegant restatement of the undogmatic essence of Marx.”

– New Statesman

Shows the relevance of Marx to twenty-first century global capitalism.

An intense and lively debate on literature and art between thinkers who became some of the great figures of twentieth-century philosophy and literature.

In Marxism and Philosophy Korsch argues for a reexamination of the relationship between Marxist theory and bourgeois philosophy, and insists on the centrality of the Hegelian dialectic and a commitment to revolutionary praxis. Although widely attacked in its time, Marxism and Philosophy has attained a place among the most important works of twentieth-century Marxist theory, and continues to merit critical reappraisal from scholars and activists today.

Analysis of the role of ideology in political movements.

Marx’s Revenge opens with a consideration of the ideas of Adam Smith and Hegel. It proceeds to look at the nuances in the work of Marx himself, and concludes with a survey of more recent economists who studied capitalism and attempted to unravel its secrets, including Joseph Schumpeter, John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek.

A collection of incisive critiques of contemporary Marxism, of post-colonial development and of the Eurocentric assessment of imperialism.

A clear and compact guide to Marx’s road to Das Kapital. Ernest Mandel traces the development of Marx’s economic ideas from the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts to the completion of the Grundrisse. In a series of crystalline chapters, he provides an overview of subjects central to Marxist economic theory.

The republication of Suzanne de Brunhoff’s classic investigation into Karl Marx’s conception of “the money commodity” shines light on commodities and their fetishism. The investigation of money as the crystallization of value in its material sense is central to how we understand capitalism and how it can be abolished. Marx on Money is an elegant analysis of how money, credit, debt and value fit into the “logic of capital” that characterizes commodity society.

Michel Aglietta’s path-breaking book is the first attempt at a rigorous historical theory of the whole development of US capitalism, from the Civil War to the Carter presidency. This edition includes a substantial postface by Aglietta, which situates regulation theory in the context of twenty-first-century capitalism.

These incisive and erudite texts provide a crucial introduction to Marxist political economy, as well as advancing critical arguments for those already well versed in the field.

Brimming over with archival finds and buoyed by the recollections of witnesses and participants in the radical movements of decades past, Marxism in the United States includes fascinating accounts of the immigrant socialism of the nineteenth century, the formation of the CPUSA in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, the rise of American communism and of the hugely influential Popular Front in the 1920s and ’30s, the crisis and split of the ’50s, and the revival of Marxism in the ’60s and ’70s.

Mapping out a future for Marxist theory.

Marx’s approach to the growth of “peripheral countries” has triggered contentious debate and produced a voluminous literature over the years. Presenting the drafts of Marx’s discussion on rural Russia in the late 1800s, this book offers readers a crucial primary text for deciphering Marx’s attitudes towards issues echoed in contemporary debates on development.

A classic work by the founding father of existentialism, describing his philosophy and its relationship to Marxism.

Perceptive and thoughtful essays on the future of socialism and Marxism.

The Melancholy Science is Gillian Rose’s investigation into Theodor Adorno’s work and legacy. Rose uncovers the unity discernable among the many fragments of Adorno’s oeuvre, and argues that his influence has been to turn Marxism into a search for style. The attempts of Adorno, Lukács and Benjamin to develop a Marxist theory of culture centred on the concept of reification are contrasted, and the ways in which the concept of reification has come to be misused are exposed.

“One of the most interesting, articulate and readable books about Marxism in recent years.”—Radical Philosophy

Originally published as Lukács, Marx and the Sources of Critical Theory, The Philosophy of Praxis traces the evolution of this argument in the writings of Marx, Lukács, Adorno and Marcuse. This reinterpretation of the philosophy of praxis shows its continuing relevance to contemporary discussions in Marxist political theory, continental philosophy and science and technology studies.

Essays include critiques of Lukács by Gareth Stedman Jones and Michael Löwy; a survey of the Frankfurt School by Göran Therborn; an assessment of the legacy of Gramsci, by John Merrington; exposition and criticism of the work of Sartre by André Gorz and Ronald Aronson; major assessments of Althusser by Norman Geras and André Glucksmann and a wide-ranging interview with the Italian philosopher Lucio Colletti that provides an overview of Western Marxism.

These first two volumes in Rosa Luxemburg’s Complete Works, entitled Economic Writings 1 and Economic Writings 2 contains some of Luxemburg’s most important statements on the globalization of capital, wage labor, imperialism, and pre-capitalist economic formations.

Enlightenment advances towards a science of politics, and Marx's relationship to Hegel.

Discovery of the World is about war, anti-Semitism, anti-fascism, resistance, the belief in social justice, the craving for experience, travel, political rallies, cinema, French intellectuals and FIAT workers, international diplomacy and friendship. All this is built on an intricate web made of reason and affection, of rational questioning and ironic self-narration as well as of profound nostalgia, disappointment and discovery.