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The Frock-coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels

by Tristram Hunt - £14.99  Penguin Books Ltd (2010)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9780141021409 | ISBN 10: 0141021403

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. Set against the backdrop of revolutionary Europe and industrializing England of Manchester mills, Paris barricades, and East End strikes it is a story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal.

(Price & availability last checked: November 2018)

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In booklists: Communism, Political Memoirs and Biographies,
In categories: Politics & Philosophy, History & Biography,

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