The state is nothing but an instrument of opression of one class by another – no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy. Friedrich Engels


The Buddha may have spent his life in search of compassion just a Confucius may have spent his in search of wisdom. Moses may have been chosen by God as the law giver just as the prophets may have been sent to prepare the way for the Lord. What all of these wise and holy men have in common is their humanity which is to say that whatever steps they took in search of virtue they never completely arrived. There is only one begotten Son of God and it is only through the contemplation of His word – and reducing that contemplation into act [however imperfect] – that we may seek to emulate their example and travel our own path towards salvation.

We should not be surprised in a world that has reduced religious truth to equivocation at best and downright blasphemy in many instances that the works of men like Marx and Engels are placed on par with the Word.  Tragically some attempt to conflate the two in the name of social justice or – as in the case of this biography – attempt to legitimize the all too human author.

The rules of formal criticism require that you separate all the accidents of time, place and circumstance in considering a work and thus someone who is an axe murderer, an adulterer and who always takes the last cookie may be adjudged a great author. The common sense of our existence seems to dictate that if you walk though a cesspit your shoes are going to get dirty and if you give yourself up to authors of blasphemy you may become a blasphemer. 

 

Marx’s general : the revolutionary life of  Friedrich Engels    New York : Metropolitan Books,  2009  Tristram Hunt Engels, Friedrich,  1820-1895 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xii,  430 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 25 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. [369]-410)  and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with  clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or  marginalia in text. VG/VG

A remarkable new biography from one of  Britain’s leading young historians that recovers  the co-founder of communism from the shadows of  history, portraying how one of the great “bon  viveurs” of Victorian Britain reconciled his  exuberant personal life with his radical political  philosophy.

Though The Communist Manifesto credits Friedrich Engels as its co-author, it was Karl Marx who gave his name to the creed that swept the world. Yet without Engels, Marxism would have been impossible. For forty years Engels supported Marx personally and financially, enduring a loathed existence as a textile magnate to give his friend the freedom to write. It was Engels’s firsthand knowledge of slums and factory conditions that underpinned Communist doctrine; it was his grasp of global capitalism that made its way into Das Kapital. And, after Marx’s death, it was Engels’s work that set the stage for the political theories of the USSR.

Drawing on a wealth of letters and archives, renowned historian Tristram Hunt reclaims the intellectual legacy of one of the greatest social commentators, and details a life of extraordinary contradiction: the capitalist mill owner who urged the dictatorship of the proletariat; the incendiary radical who concealed scandalizing love affairs behind a façade of bourgeois respectability. An epic tale of devoted friendship, ideological struggle, and family heartbreak, Marx’s General restores to full importance this major historical figure.

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