By Hal Draper
Few documents have had more of an impact on the course of history as has the Communist Manifesto. From its famous opening lines—"A specter is haunting Europe: the specter of Communism"—to its final rallying cry—"Workers of the world unite!"—the words of Marx and Engels have moved millions to join in the struggle against capitalism. But they have also inspired a legion of critics, detractors, and even a few despots to intentionally distort their meanings so as to sow confusion and justify untold horrors.
According to Hal Draper, these mis-readings have, in part, been made possible by the enduring prevalence of translations from the original German that fail to accurately capture the intended meaning of certain key phrases. In this magisterial volume, Draper assembles the original German text, the first English translation, the officially authorized English translation—providing enlightening commentary throughout—as well as his own new translation of the pamphlet.