10 books like Marx at the Margins

By Kevin B. Anderson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Marx at the Margins. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Marx's Ecology

By John Bellamy Foster,

Book cover of Marx's Ecology: Materialism and Nature

This book rocked my theory-world when I finally settled down to read it, long after it was first published and everybody was talking about it. Besides developing Marx’s idea of the ‘metabolic rift’ in the social-natural metabolism, brought on by the industrial revolution, it also traces Marx’s inspiration in the soil sciences of his day, ancient materialist philosophies of nature, and the disregard or distortion of Marx’s ecology during the Soviet era and in the West.  

Marx's Ecology

By John Bellamy Foster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marx's Ecology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Progress requires the conquest of nature. Or does it? This new account overturns conventional interpretations of Marx and in the process outlines a more rational approach to the current environmental crisis. Marx, it is often assumed, cared only about industrial growth and the development of economic forces. John Bellamy Foster examines Marx's neglected writings on capitalist agriculture and soil ecology, philosophical naturalism, and evolutionary theory. He shows that Marx, known as a powerful critic of capitalist society, was also deeply concerned with the changing human relationship to nature. Marx's Ecology covers many other thinkers, including Epicurus, Charles Darwin, Thomas Malthus,…


Marx's Inferno

By William Clare Roberts,

Book cover of Marx's Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital

This really engaging book shows how Capital, Volume 1 is implicitly modelled on Dante’s Inferno, from the way Marx stages the descent (katabasis) into the hell of the 19th-century factory to the division of the French and English translations into 33 chapters, mirroring the 33 cantos of Dante’s famous poem. Roberts almost makes you forget you’re reading political theory, an effect Marx was aiming for in trying to reach his socialist and working-class audiences.

Marx's Inferno

By William Clare Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marx's Inferno as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marx's Inferno reconstructs the major arguments of Karl Marx's Capital and inaugurates a completely new reading of a seminal classic. Rather than simply a critique of classical political economy, William Roberts argues that Capital was primarily a careful engagement with the motives and aims of the workers' movement. Understood in this light, Capital emerges as a profound work of political theory. Placing Marx against the background of nineteenth-century socialism, Roberts shows how Capital was ingeniously modeled on Dante's Inferno, and how Marx, playing the role of Virgil for the proletariat, introduced partisans of workers' emancipation to the secret depths of…


Marx's Capital Illustrated

By David Smith, Phil Evans (illustrator),

Book cover of Marx's Capital Illustrated

As an academic, I was at first skeptical about reading a comic version of Marx’s masterpiece, but Smith and Evans brilliantly manage to be both entertaining and enlightening, hilariously funny as well as dead serious. Even if you’re not familiar with any of the key concepts, you’ll get a lot out of the way they combine simple descriptions with the illustrations, and the updated edition really resonates with the financial crises we’ve experienced in the last couple of decades. 

Marx's Capital Illustrated

By David Smith, Phil Evans (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Marx's Capital Illustrated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Karl Marx did not write Das Kapital for the bookshelves of economists and philosophers. It is economics for working people, from their viewpoint and history. It is the classic masterpiece of revolutionary working-class politics. Here, David Smith and Phil Evans explode the myth of difficulty haunting Marx's Kapital.


Routledge Handbook of Marx's Capital

By Marcello Musto (editor), Babak Amini (editor),

Book cover of Routledge Handbook of Marx's Capital: A Global History of Translation, Dissemination and Reception

Even though this book only comes out in 2023, and the high price tag means that most of us will only be able to access it from libraries, this monumental collection will be the landmark study of the global reception and translation of Marx’s great book. The parts I’ve seen or heard about are riveting, since they make us think about what it means to read and how reading can change minds as well as worlds. 

Routledge Handbook of Marx's Capital

By Marcello Musto (editor), Babak Amini (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Routledge Handbook of Marx's Capital as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marx's Capital has been the focus of widespread interest in the wake of the international financial crisis that erupted in 2008, as hundreds of leading daily and weekly papers throughout the world discussed the contemporary relevance of its pages. Many are again looking to an author who in the past was often wrongly associated with the Soviet Union, and who was too hastily dismissed after 1989. New or republished editions of Marx's work have become available almost everywhere. The literature dealing with Marx, which all but dried up twenty-five years ago, is showing signs of revival in many countries, and…


The Cleanest Race

By B.R. Myers,

Book cover of The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters

Myers, a professor and North Korea watcher, draws on a careful reading of the “Hermit Kingdom’s” cultural products (its political speeches, novels, pamphlets, and more) to tease out a worldview that is too often opaque to outsiders. While escapee literature focuses on how average Koreans suffer under that brutal regime, this book affords us insight into how the regime sees itself – in ways that will surprise you.

The Cleanest Race

By B.R. Myers,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cleanest Race as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Understanding North Korea through its propagandaA newly revised and updated edition that includes a consideration of Kim Jung Il's successor, Kim Jong-On What do the North Koreans really believe? How do they see themselves and the world around them? Here B.R. Myers, a North Korea analyst and a contributing editor of The Atlantic, presents the first full-length study of the North Korean worldview. Drawing on extensive research into the regime’s domestic propaganda, including films, romance novels and other artifacts of the personality cult, Myers analyzes each of the country’s official myths in turn€”from the notion of Koreans’ unique moral purity,…


Racism Postrace

By Roopali Mukerjee (editor), Sarah Banet-Weiser (editor), Herman Gray (editor)

Book cover of Racism Postrace

A central idea of racial neoliberalism is the erasure of concepts referencing race, taking away the very terms by which racism can be identified and critically addressed. This is a condition that, with Obama’s election in 2008, became increasingly widely identified as “the postracial.” I find this edited volume more readily than others to provide trenchant analysis of the complex relations between the condition of the postracial and its rendering of racism less readily identifiable and more challenging to address.

Racism Postrace

By Roopali Mukerjee (editor), Sarah Banet-Weiser (editor), Herman Gray (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Racism Postrace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With the election of Barack Obama, the idea that American society had become postracial-that is, race was no longer a main factor in influencing and structuring people's lives-took hold in public consciousness, increasingly accepted by many. The contributors to Racism Postrace examine the concept of postrace and its powerful history and allure, showing how proclamations of a postracial society further normalize racism and obscure structural antiblackness. They trace expressions of postrace over and through a wide variety of cultural texts, events, and people, from sports (LeBron James's move to Miami), music (Pharrell Williams's "Happy"), and television (The Voice and HGTV)…


African American Childhoods

By Wilma King,

Book cover of African American Childhoods: Historical Perspectives from Slavery to Civil Rights

I am very interested in the unique challenges that African American children face in the United States. The impacts and continuing effects of slavery and systemic racism begin affecting them before they can articulate the discrimination they experience. This book makes me question the root causes of prejudice and how it is instilled in and inflicted on children.

African American Childhoods

By Wilma King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked African American Childhoods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

African American Childhoods seeks to fill a vacuum in the study of African American children. Recovering the voices or experiences of these children, we observe nuances in their lives based on their legal status, class standing, and social development.


From Migrant to Acadian

By N.E.S. Griffiths,

Book cover of From Migrant to Acadian: A North American Border People, 1604-1755

This book by Naomi Griffiths is excellent for anyone who wants to understand who the Acadians were (and still are)—and how they came to be considered a people distinct from French. The book is indispensable to grasp the basic characteristics of Acadians in the 17th and 18th centuries and the many challenges they faced. As Griffiths shows, the deportation did not destroy the Acadian community. In spite of a horrific death toll, nine years of proscription, and the forfeiture of property and political rights, the Acadians continued to be a cohesive community in Nova Scotia and other areas where they settled. Instead of destroying the Acadian community, the deportation proved to be a source of inspiration in the formation of a strong Acadian identity in the 19th century and beyond.

From Migrant to Acadian

By N.E.S. Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Migrant to Acadian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A history of the emergence of the Acadian community.


Urban Indians in a Silver City

By Dana Velasco Murillo,

Book cover of Urban Indians in a Silver City: Zacatecas, Mexico, 1546-1810

What Mangan’s work does for the Andes, Velasco Murillo’s scholarship does for Mexico. The book covers an astounding historical range, taking readers through the first silver strikes in Zacatecas under colonial rule until the edge of early nation-statehood. In telling this 250-year history of Zacatecas, Velasco Murillo demonstrates how Indigenous mining communities, their labor, and the capital they generated were critical to shaping – and were shaped by – emerging ideas of mestizo citizenship. It does so, moreover, by centering women and Indigenous miners in ways that other social histories of mining had not yet accomplished. Velasco Murillo shows definitively that the history of silver is not just underground – it is a story of women who prepare food, raise children, and form a political and economic community is life-giving, meaning-making ways across urban geographies and remote mining spaces. Readers looking for new ways to understand mining and revolution in…

Urban Indians in a Silver City

By Dana Velasco Murillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Urban Indians in a Silver City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the sixteenth century, silver mined by native peoples became New Spain's most important export. Silver production served as a catalyst for northern expansion, creating mining towns that led to the development of new industries, markets, population clusters, and frontier institutions. Within these towns, the need for labor, raw materials, resources, and foodstuffs brought together an array of different ethnic and social groups-Spaniards, Indians, Africans, and ethnically mixed individuals or castas. On the northern edge of the empire, 350 miles from Mexico City, sprung up Zacatecas, a silver-mining town that would grow in prominence to become the "Second City of…


Planet Taco

By Jeffrey M. Pilcher,

Book cover of Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food

I never thought I would be jealous of a footnote, but Planet Taco has one that says: “This chapter is based on a decade of international fieldwork eating Mexican food on five continents”! Whether or not you agree that Mexican food is the tastiest on earth, its history is extraordinarily complex and fascinating; Jeffrey Pilcher is the best historian to guide you through it. His first book, ¡Que vivan los tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity, opened my eyes to the world of food history many years ago. In Planet Taco, Pilcher examines the development of Mexican cuisine in dialogue with larger processes of globalization and ideas about authenticity and national identity, using the taco to unpack this fantastically “messy business”. 

Planet Taco

By Jeffrey M. Pilcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Planet Taco as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As late as the 1960s, tacos were virtually unknown outside Mexico and the American Southwest. Within fifty years the United States had shipped taco shells everywhere from Alaska to Australia, Morocco to Mongolia. But how did this tasty hand-held food-and Mexican food more broadly-become so ubiquitous?

In Planet Taco, Jeffrey Pilcher traces the historical origins and evolution of Mexico's national cuisine, explores its incarnation as a Mexican American fast-food, shows how surfers became global pioneers of Mexican food, and how Corona beer conquered the world. Pilcher is particularly enlightening on what the history of Mexican food reveals about the uneasy…


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