Praise for our series
“This book advertises itself as ‘accessible’, ‘informative’ and ‘engaging’ and it ticked all three boxes right from the very start. ...from the first page I was hooked. ...absolutely fascinating.
If your department budget or school/college library can stretch to it then it’s a worthwhile investment.”
Laura Quaife | The Association for The Teaching of Psychology
"Socialist historian Manus McGrogan has done us all a service with his new book, Who the Hell is Karl Marx?, which pulls Karl right out of that 'difficult' box into an accessible summary of his life and ideas.
The book is short and sharp, but does not oversimplify.
If you know anyone who’s off to university, this would be a great gift, because there is a strong possibility they will be taught about the 'difficult' Marx, where McGrogan makes an effort to make the 'difficult' understandable."
Solomon Hughes | Morning Star
"There are many misunderstandings about who Nietzsche was and the nature of his ideas. In ‘Who the Hell is Nietzsche’ Oliver Dixon challenges the myth of Nietzsche as a ‘prophet of doom’ unpacking his life-affirming philosophy. Dixon reflects the richness of Nietzsche’s multidisciplinary approach to philosophical problems and demonstrates the nuanced interpretations of Nietzsche in an undaunting and accessible style. This helps the reader to understand why the philosopher has been cited by figures of varying political shades as a key influence, from anarchists to conservatives to fascists.
In unpacking the pivotal events in Nietzsche’s life in the first chapter, Dixon signals the factors that led to his philosophy that is both confrontational with 19th-century German society whilst at the same time very much being a product of it. With great insight, Dixon also looks to the present and how Nietzsche’s ideas continue to find relevance in our modern world. As well as reminding us to think more critically about how our value systems are constructed, Nietzsche promotes a scepticism towards the notion of absolute truth and the ideas that there is one morality and only one path to living a fulfilled life.
If you’re looking to understand who Nietzsche was, the prime elements of his philosophy, and what he might have to say about our current predicament, then this is an excellent place to start."
Benedict O'Connell | Philosophy Teacher and Tutor
A more comprehensive list of Marx biographies can be found.... but, by and large, they are lengthy to the extent that they may deter new readers rather than encourage them from entering the fascinating world of Marx’s writings. So this short introduction, covering the life and works of Karl Marx in a mere 125 pages, is to be welcome.
In Who the hell is Karl Marx? Manus McGrogan has produced a useful pocket-sized introduction to the fundamentals of Marx and Marxism. The layout and subject order is well conceived and executed. There is on pages 24-25 a very useful timeline of the life of Karl Marx which is accompanied with a parallel chronology of historical events which would have influenced the development of his thought.
Who the hell is… Karl Marx? ...provides a comprehensive introduction for those wanting to explore ideas that still have the power to change the world for the better.
Brian Parkin | rs21, July 2020 issue
"As a teacher of A-level philosophy I think it would make a great accompaniment to a student wanting to expand their knowledge of the three key areas of philosophy at A-level: epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics. Whilst Plato is currently a small part of the specification, his ideas underpin much of what came after him, and they are presented here in a simple and accessible way. The style also makes for a great entry point for anyone simply interested in finding out who Plato was and what he thought (and why he is so important!). I’ll definitely be recommending this to any of my students keen to broaden their understanding."
Dan Mason | A level Philosophy Teacher
"Who the hell is Karl Marx? is a nifty little primer on how to think with Marx in the 21st century...
...For students and activists alike new to the world of Marx, this book offers what pedagogists Jan Meyer and Ray Land famously referred to as 'threshold concepts,' previously inaccessible perspectives that reveal the world anew...
...The book's greatest utility, however, lies in its ability to help newcomers think with Marx about the world on their own."
Professor Ron Haas | Texas University, USA
"...accessible and unambiguous. Dixon does a great job of presenting three of the key themes of Nietzsche’s work with both clarity and accuracy. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.”
Jamie Corish | The Philosophy Foundation
"BF Skinner was one of the best known and most controversial psychologists of his age and beyond. Who the Hell is B.F. Skinner? is an outstanding biography of the man and his theories, and is a must read for anybody interested in the history of psychology and its iconic theorists. It is well written, very informative and makes a significant contribution to the field of psychology.”
Professor Sir Cary Cooper, ALLIANCE Manchester Business School, University of Manchester
“A concise but detailed book about Skinner’s work & his influences. It was a straight forward read balancing psychology with general interest meaning it’s suited for readers with knowledge of Skinner’s work but also for those who know very little. This book will be added to the list of recommended reads for my A Level students.”
Rebecca Heath | Faringdon Learning Trust
"The book is well written...it provides the student with manageable chunks of text, which will aid their reading and time management...As a teacher and examiner of Religious Studies and Philosophy, a further aspect of the book I like is the author’s use of Hume’s original 18th Century text, which he then goes onto explain in a clear and concise way, and reinforces understanding through the use of real world examples.
To sum up, if you are new to teaching or studying philosophy, and are finding texts dealing with Hume’s ideas difficult to digest, this book will equip you with the skills to get to grips with the basics of Hume’s contribution to philosophy, which in turn will make it much easier to move onto the more detailed and complex areas of Hume’s theory."
Adam Naylor | Teacher of Religion & Ethics, Jcoss Secondary School, London
"...the author expounds on Plato’s Theory of the Forms by accurately interpreting the Republic but also by drawing in other of Plato’s great works to help form a more complete understanding of his theory. ...Plato’s Theory of Knowledge is particularly well developed and gives a surprisingly detailed and insightful description of Plato’s theories.
This book is useful for anyone who has read Plato but needs a refresher. It is also useful for students who need some easy to understand support to assist in learning about Plato. Overall, the book is quick to read but excels in its ability to provide a lot of quality content in an easy to read format."
Clara Hawking | Dept. of Philosophy & Psychology, Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Laroverket, Sweden
"I loved the content of this book so much that I’ve put “The Feminine Mystique” on my reading list. It takes a great book to spark a new exciting feeling for a person or subject, and that’s exactly what this one has done for me!"
Claire Allison | Masters student in Psychology & Linguistics at Edinburgh Universit
"This book provides an accessible introduction to the thought of Nietzsche, an indispensable figure for anyone wanting to understand the trajectory of modern philosophy. His challenging ideas are contextualised and explained here in such a way that they become easy to understand. As a teacher I find that many of my students encounter Nietzsche at some point in their studies, and so I am thankful to have finally found a text that is written with the express intention of presenting difficult ideas in a readable way. This book will help any student broaden their understanding – beyond the A-level specification in particular. Having a great text such as this on hand to recommend will be very useful!"
Dan Mason | A level Philosophy Teacher
"A short clear readable introduction that explains Plato’s ideas in context but doesn't play down their complexities. A significant strength of the book is the way that it relates Plato’s ideas about knowledge truth and justice together. I have been teaching this topic for years and I learnt something new!"
Caroline Wells | Philosophy Teacher
"For anyone who has heard the name Nietzsche and doesn’t know much about him, this book is perfect.
...Dixon’s chapters cover the Death of God, the Ubermensch and the Will to Power... Dixon walks the reader through these concepts with clarity and precision so that a good ground can be established for the reader... Having read a lot of beginners guides to Nietzsche, this was refreshing!
...this is a readable and entertaining book that gives a sneak peak into the world of a potentially fragile man with robust ideas and will get minds questioning their own deeply held values- and for the better! ...Thank you, Oliver Dixon, for getting me thinking about Nietzsche all over again. I imagine this book will push even more people to go that bit further, and potentially beyond good and evil."
Benjamin Jones | A level Philosophy Teacher
"Do we need another book on Marx? ….Having read this book, the answer is a definite yes.
...This book is a general introduction to Marx’s life, ideas and political activism. Manus McGrogan successfully weaves the disparate strands of philosophy, economic, history and biography together in a narrative that is accessible without losing any depth of analysis...
...The book explains the origins and importance of all key aspects of Marxist thought: historical materialism, the labour theory of value, capitalism and crisis, and how a communist society could be organised...
...We need books that present Marx and his ideas to new readers, and which remind all readers of the depth of the tradition in which we stand and its capacity to explain and contest the challenges we face."
Judy Cox | Socialist Review, April 2020 issue
"Psychology is my favourite subject, but so far at university we have focused a lot on old white men with beards! So, reading this book provided me with a little of the diversity that I was looking for in a subject I really enjoy learning about. As someone who particularly enjoys child psychology, this was an incredibly enjoyable read which included some other thinkers and their influences on her work. It was informative without being heavy on flowery psychological terms, which meant I didn’t have to be in a studious state of mind to read and enjoy it, yet I still managed to learn a great deal!"
Claire Allison | Masters student in Psychology & Linguistics at Edinburgh University