And welcome to the first post of the Karl Marx Blog! Let's get down to business. Here are my pics for how to begin your quest for understanding Marx and Marxism.
One should begin with Peter Singer's Marx: A Very Short Introduction, or with McLellan, David, Karl Marx: His Life and Thought, London: McMillan, 1973. Either book is great , but I recommend McLellan's treatment. In one hour you can learn all you need to know about Marx in a accessible but not dumbed down version. Next, I would read From Socrates to Satre by T.Z. Lavine ( at least the sections on Hegel and Marx pages 199-320)
Once you have been introduced to the thought of K.Marx I would look for the general works or primers. Arch conservative Thomas Sowell provides a fantastic intro for the advanced student. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics is a easy to read book that offers a true potrait of Marx's thought. One only senses Sowells' right wing bias near the end of the book when he provides comment on the Legacy of Marx.
The second primer I would recommend is Richard Schmdtts: Introduction to Marx and Engels. This book reads more like a text book than a philosophical treatise. Other you could consider are George Lichtheim's Marxism and The Social And Political Thought of Karl Marx by Shlomo Avineri [not for the uninitiated.]
One may have noticed so far my reliance on secondary sources as a material to become acquainted with Marx. This was done purposefully and will assure those readers unfamiliar with Mr. Marx except from the stereotypes offered by the mainstream media. Furthermore,it will serve as restraint knowledge for any new readers from an analytical philosophic position. I will [soon] break down primary texts of Marx to read from in a future post.