Bensaïd's book is especially good because of the demolition job it does on recent myths the likes of poststructuralism and Analytical Marxism have tacked on to Marx's voluminous beard. Teleology? No. Marx's Theory of History? No. People as appendages of classes? No. Marx was blind to other classes apart from the bourgeoisie, landowners and proletariat in capitalism? No. And on and on it goes. Written in an accessible style it comes highly recommended.
Anyway, the first 'critical Marxists' who had a historical materialist approach purged of Hegelian phantasms and all other metaphysical ghoulies were ... Marx and Engels in the first place, and quite early in their career too. For anyone still labouring under the assumption the dynamic duo held to a naive theory of history, here is Engels from *1843* absolutely nailing it:
History does nothing, it possesses no immense wealth; it wages no battles: It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights: 'history' is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims.170 years later some "Marxists" and its purported detractors carry on as if these words were never written.
(Engels, The Holy Family, in Bensaïd 2002, p.10)