Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Everyman's Marx: the ripoff

Three years ago, I was contacted out of the blue by  Mark Batty Publishers to do a small book on Marx.  It was part of something called the Everyman series. I thought that this was a terrific idea, although I had never heard of the series or of Mark Batty. So I signed a contract that specified my schedule – I was to do the book in two months time – and that guaranteed me a thousand dollar advance when I completed the book and two thousand dollars when it was published, plus royalty rights. If they didn’t publish it I was to get a spike reward of one thousand dollars.

Well, I did at least get the advance. I have no hope that I will get the kill fee, any more than I have hope that Mark Batty, or his associate, Buzz Poole, will answer my emails. I suppose the fact that this guy calls himself "Buzz" should have been a warning. The one time I talked to Mark Batty, the man told me about horse racing. That should have been another warning. I have never dealt with a gambler and not been ripped off.  Anyway,  I finished the book and sent it off to the black hole that is Mark Batty Publishers. My book designer, Jake Davis, finally sent me a letter yesterday explaining that Mark Batty is a curious kind of fraud – it seems to be more incompetent than dishonesty driven. Or rather, its incompetence drives its dishonesty.

Now, I don’t know whether this was an entirely bad experience, even though I see my name all over the Net attached to a book that has not appeared, and will apparently never appear. This, in one way, makes me look like a fool. But, in another way, I am a fool, no bones about it.

I do have a pdf of a galley of the book. I’ll send it off free to anyone who asks. My email is


  “In brief, cultural history only represents a surface strike against the insight [of historicism], but not that of dialectics. For it lack...