Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

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Macmillan, Aug 18, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 430 pages

A remarkable new biography from one of Britain’s leading young historians that recovers the co-founder of communism from the shadows of history

Friedrich Engels is one of the most intriguing and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous Prussian mercantile family, he spent his life working in the Manchester cotton industry, riding to the Cheshire hounds, and enjoying the comfortable upper-middle-class existence of a Victorian gentleman.
Yet Engels was also, with Karl Marx, the founder of international communism, which in the twentieth century came to govern one-third of the human race. He was the coauthor of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless party tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so that Marx could write Das Kapital. His searing account of the Industrial Revolution, The Condition of the Working Class in England, remains one of the most haunting and brutal indictments of the human costs of capitalism. Far more than Marx’s indispensable aide, Engels was a profound thinker in his own right—on warfare, feminism, urbanism, Darwinism, technology, and colonialism. With fierce clarity, he predicted the social effects of today’s free-market fundamentalism and unstoppable globalization.
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. Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Europe and industrializing England—of Manchester mills, Paris barricades, and East End strikes—Marx’s General tells a story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal. And it tackles head-on the question of Engels’s influence: was Engels, after Marx’s death, responsible for some of the most devastating turns of twentieth-century history, or was the idealism of his thought distorted by those who claimed to be his followers?
An epic history and riveting biography, Marx’s General at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.
 

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MARX'S GENERAL: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

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A welcome life of Karl Marx's factotum, benefactor and co-author, who talked a good revolutionary game while living a happily bourgeois life.The little town of Wuppertal, Germany, where Friedrich ... Read full review

Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

British historian Hunt (Building Jerusalem) does an excellent job unraveling the seemingly contradictory life of Friedrich Engels, textile magnate and coauthor of The Communist Manifesto. A child of ... Read full review

Contents

Front Matter
1
Body
11
Back Matter
369
Back Matter
401
Back Matter
411
Index
413
Back Matter
431
Back Flap
439
Back Cover
440
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About the author (2009)

Tristram Hunt is a lecturer in history at the University of London. The author of Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City, he writes political and cultural commentary for The Guardian, The Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications.

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