In 1850 the revolutionary intellectual Karl Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels found themselves poor and in exile in London. Their friends came up with a radical solution: Go to America. But they dithered, realizing that Europe was the center of their activity.“For other nineteenth century German radicals, the trip across the Atlantic was a one-way political journey; none of them ever played a role in European politics again,” writes author Jonathan Sperber.Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life is the latest biography of one of the 19th century’s most important intellectual figures and one whose ideas cast a dark shadow over the 20th century and continue to influence academics and politics. Sperber, a professor of history at the University of Missouri, is perfectly placed to bring out a new biography of the famous communist because he previously wrote a history of Europe’s revolutionary turmoil of 1848, in which Marx played a role. The biographer also had access to the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe, a collection of Marx’s writings and articles on them that have been “little used or not at all in previous biographies,” notes Sperber.