As the 19th century unfolded, its inhabitants had to come to terms with an unparalleled range of political, economic, religious and intellectual challenges. Distances shrank, new towns sprang up, and ingenious inventions transformed the industrial landscape. It was an era dominated by new ideas about God, human capacities, industry, revolution, empires and political systems - and above all, the shape of the future. One of the most distinctive and arresting contributions to this debate was made by Karl Marx, the son of a Jewish convert in the Rhineland and a man whose entire life was devoted to making sense of the hopes and fears of the 19th century world. Gareth Stedman Jones's impressive biography explores how Marx came to his revolutionary ideas in an age of intellectual ferment, and the impact they had on his times
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