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Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

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Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Tristram Hunt, one of Britain's leading young historians, 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 Observer, The Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. 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? Marx's General at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.

Written with brio, warmth, and historical understanding, this is more than the best biography of one of the most attractive inhabitants of Victorian England, Karl Marx's friend, partner, and political heir. It is also one of the most accessible and persuasive studies of how the arguments of young philosophers in the 1840s grew into the movement that shook and changed the world in the twentieth century.--Eric Hobsbawm, author of The Age of Revolution and The Age of Extremes

In his new book, Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels, Tristram Hunt argues that Engels has become a convenient scapegoat, too easily blamed for the state crimes of the Soviet Union and Communist Southeast Asia and China. 'Engels is left holding the bag of 20th-century ideological extremism, ' Mr. Hunt writes, 'while Marx is rebranded as the acceptable, postpolitical seer of global capitalism.' Mr. Hunt, a young British academic and a columnist for The Guardian, embarks on a two-part rescue mission in Marx's General. He wants first to show us the human Engel, portraying him as gregarious and bighearted. He also works mightily to defend Engels against most of the calumnies later committed in his and Marx's names. Mr. Hunt is so successful at the first goal that the big takeaway of Marx's General may be that Engels, best known as a ruthless party tactician, comes across as the Mario Batali of international communism: a jovial man of outsize appetites who was referred to by his son-in-law as 'the great beheader of Champagne bottles' . . . At the end of this vivid and thoughtful biography, you are quite persuaded that Friedrich Engels would have been a fine man to drink a Margaux with. And it is surely true, as Mr. Hunt puts it, that Engels's larger critique of capitalism--and his hope for a more dignified kind of humanity --'resonates down the ages.'--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

As double acts go, the names of Marx and Engels don't have quite the ring of Bonnie and Clyde or Laurel and Hardy, but celebrity wasn't ever the point. Revolution was. It is often assumed that Friedrich Engels (1820-95), a prosperous mill owner, was a kind of patron to Karl Marx, and so he proved to be. But he was a formidable thinke

Synopsis:

"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.

About the Author

One of Britain's leading young historians, 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 Observer, The Times, and the London Review of Books, among other publications. 

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805092486
Author:
Hunt, Tristram
Publisher:
Picador USA
Subject:
Philosophers
Subject:
Social Scientists & Psychologists
Subject:
Political Ideologies - Communism & Socialism
Subject:
Biography-Philosophers
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
The Revolutionary Li
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16pp bandw photos
Pages:
464
Dimensions:
8.00 x 5.25 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Philosophers
Biography » Social Scientists and Psychologists
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies

Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels Used Trade Paper
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Product details 464 pages Holt McDougal - English 9780805092486 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "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.

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