"Written with brio, warmth, and historical understanding, this is the best biography of one of the most attractive inhabitants of Victorian England, Marx's friend, partner, and political heir."―Eric Hobsbawm
Friedrich Engels is one of the most intriguing and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family, he spent his life enjoying the comfortable existence of a Victorian gentleman; yet he was at the same time the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless political tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so that Karl Marx could have the freedom to write. Although his contributions are frequently overlooked, Engels's grasp of global capital provided an indispensable foundation for communist doctrine, and his account of the Industrial Revolution, The Condition of the Working Class in England, remains one of the most haunting and brutal indictments of capitalism's human cost.
Drawing on a wealth of letters and archives, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt plumbs Engels's intellectual legacy and shows us how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his exuberant personal life with his radical political philosophy. This epic story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.
Brand: Holt Paperback
Used Book in Good Condition
black & white illustrations
black & white illustrations
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an absolutely riveting dual biography of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that is beautifully written with some fine touches of ironic humor. I'm in awe of Tristram Hunt's achievement. This book didn't get enough attention when it was published here in the states (the author is a young Brit) and I can't figure out why. It's got everything you want to know about a famous friendship that altered the course of history.
Especially interesting to me, because I knew nothing about it, was Engels's and Marx's fascination with Darwin's theory of evolution and their abiding belief that human society would inevitably evolve in a similar "scientific" fashion. I always wondered where the odd belief in dialectical materialism as a "science" sprang from--- now I know.
Also odd: Engels, a polymath intellectual, invariably chose illiterate workingclass women as his sexual partners and closest female intimates. Despite his evident fear of intellectual women of his own class...
Hunt is top notch pens smith, a great read, brings Engels to life, Engels a complicated, charismatic character, this is a wonderful page tuner, really illuminates 19th century England, highlights Capitalism weakness and gives credence to Marx ideas, thoughtful, well researched, brilliant
It is no insult to the author to suggest that a fine piece of historical biography deserves a top Amazon rating, but at the same time to urge a more sophisticated take on Marx, Engels, and Marxism. This book is very well researched, organized, and written with an occasionally amused ironic style that will bring back even the drowsiest reader. Hunt's research, again, demonstrates the unity of the work on Marx and Engels and their profound friendship, yet their very different lives. It's a very good history. Sometimes, good gossip too. But it takes more than good history to really grapple with the relationship of Marx and Engels and their legacy. It takes a solid study of dialectical materialism which Hunt the historian apparently does not have the background to address. And it takes a more extended take on the long term results of Marx and Engels theory and practice. For example, what of the remarkable difference between Lenin's early work on dialectical materialism and his later...
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