Sunday, March 15, 2015
"Friedrich Engels is one of the most attractive and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family in west Germany, he spent his career working in the Manchester cotton industry, riding to the Cheshire hounds, and enjoying the comfortable, middle-class life of a Victorian gentleman. Yet Engels was also the co-founder of international communism - the philosophy which in the 20th century came to control one third of the human race. He was the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless party tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so Karl Marx could write Das Kapital. Tristram Hunt relishes the diversity and exuberance of Engels's era: how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his raucous personal life with this uncompromising political philosophy."
From The Economist:
"Engels was an enigma. Gifted, energetic and fascinated by political ideas, he was nevertheless ready to play second fiddle to Marx. “Marx was a genius; we others were at best talented,” he declared after his friend's death. Mr Hunt does a brilliant job of setting the two men's endeavours in the context of the political, social and philosophical currents at the time. It makes for a complex story that can be hard to follow but is well worth persevering with."