It was the industrial transformation of the early nineteenth century that created the English proletariat; it was their appalling suffering that led to the emergence, despite implacable opposition, of the early labor movements. Engels paints an unforgettable picture of daily life in the new industrial towns and for the miners and agricultural workers - a horrifying picture of overcrowded and abject poverty, child labor, sexual exploitation, dirt and drunkenness - which - constitutes a savage indictment of the of the greed and hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie. His fascinating new Preface for the first English edition of 1892, included here, brought the story up to date in the light of forty years' further reflection. Remarkable for its power and accuracy as well as for its depth of analysis, the book is without question one of the great pioneering classics of social history.
Born in Westphalia in 1820, Friedrich Engels was the son of a textile manufacturer. After military training in Berlin and already a convert to communism, Engels went to Manchester in 1842 to represent the family firm. A relationship with a mill-hand, Mary Bums, and friendship with local Owenites and Chartists helped to inspire his famous early work, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. Collaboration with Marx began in 1844 and in 1847 he composed the first drafts of the Manifesto. After playing an active part in the German revolutions, Engels returned to work in Manchester until 1870, when he moved to London. He not only helped Marx financially, but reinforced their shared position through his own expositions of the new theory. After Marxs death, he prepared the unfinished volumes of Capital for publication. He died in London in 1895.
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