Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels
"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.
personal reliability, strategic sensibility, and, above all, utter dedication to achieving his and Marx's objectives. And as the years went by and Marx's powers began to fade, Engels's rigid commitment to their cause bore all the hallmarks of a general's intent. 'Ihere was more to Engels~s analysis than audits of firepower and strategy. Thanks to Lenin's later reprints of some of Engels's New York Daily Tribune articles on insurrection, he is often regarded as a pioneer theorist of guerrilla
Dublin to Galway, and in 1869 he returned with Lizzy and Tussy to visit the Wicklow mountains, Killarney, and Cork. Always the scholar, Engels planned to write a history of Ireland and set himself to studying Gaelic before tilling tifteen notebooks with jottings on the country's law, geography, geology, economics, and folk songs; It 230 MARX'S GENERAL was to be an epic account of the topographical, cultural, and economic struggle of a nation and a people for whom he had developed an
years before the first volume of Das Kapital-, "this economy shit"-was ready for the printers. But when it appeared the relief was tangible. The sacrifice, the boredom, the barren frustration of the Manchester years had all been worth it. "I am exceedingly gratified by this whole turn of events, firstly, for its own sake, secondly, for your sake in particular and your wife's, and thirdly, because it really is time things looked up," Engels wrote in a heartfelt letter to Marx. "There is nothing I
working-class neighborhood's women and children-they lay down their guns and joined forces with the local residents. This symbolic moment of military populism was the spark Paris needed. Despite all of Baron Haussmann's urban improvements of the previous decades-the barrier-proof boule- vards, the dispersal of working-class neighborhoods, the straight streets designed to facilitate the movement of troops-Paris was still the city of revolution. The barricades went up, the remaining government
alert to "the voices of the representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, terrified lest the proletariat, impelled by its revolutionary situation, should 'go too far.'" With half an eye to covering his own bourgeois tracks, Engels was adamant that class struggle had to remain fundamental to the movement: "The emancipation of the working class must be achieved by the working class itself."36 And so he and Marx were greatly relieved when, at a clandestine 1880 Congress of Social Democracy in Wyden