Jonathan Freedland reviews a new biography of the cranky German socialist in the New York Times.
[I]t comes as a shock to realize that the ultimate leftist, the father of Communism itself, fits a recognizable pattern. It’s like discovering that Jesus Christ regularly organized bake sales at his local church. So inflated and elevated is the global image of Marx, whether revered as a revolutionary icon or reviled as the wellspring of Soviet totalitarianism, that it’s unsettling to encounter a genuine human being, a character one might come across today. If the Marx described by Sperber, a professor at the University of Missouri specializing in European history, were around in 2013, he would be a compulsive blogger, and picking Twitter fights with Andrew Sullivan and Naomi Klein.