In this comprehensive overview of Friedrich Engels’s writings, Paul Blackledge critically explores Engels’s contributions to modern social and political theory generally and Marxism specifically. Through a careful examination both of Engels’s role in the forging of Marxism in the 1840s, and his contributions to the further deepening and expansion of this worldview over the next half century, Blackledge offers a closely argued and balanced assessment of his thought. This book challenges the long-standing attempt among academic Marxologists to denigrate Engels as Marx’s greatest mistake, and concludes that Engels was a profound thinker whose ideas continue to resonate to this day.
“This is an excellent intellectual and political biography, which provides a highly readable account of its subject and a vigorous defense of his ideas. It is likely to become a standard work on Engels’s ideas and politics.” — Sean Sayers, author of Marx and Alienation: Essays on Hegelian Themes
“Paul Blackledge’s new book has no equal as a contemporary assessment of Engels’s political thought. It provides a strong refutation of the ‘divergence thesis,’ whereby Engels is said to have systematically diverged from Marx’s analysis. Appearing on the 200th anniversary of Engels’s birth, it should be widely read.” — John Bellamy Foster, author of Marx’s Ecology: Materialism and Nature
“Clear, balanced, and comprehensive, Blackledge’s book is the best introduction to Engels that I know. It does full justice to the many areas in which Engels displayed his prodigious talents.” — David McLellan, author of Karl Marx: A Biography
“Paul Blackledge has brought us a remarkable political and intellectual portrait of Friedrich Engels. This book is a masterful tour, taking the reader through Engels’s contributions to philosophy, dialectics, political economy, revolution, reform, strategy and tactics, military theory and history, the origins of women’s oppression and the state, natural science, and more. All of the great controversies are here; you will find all of the rich traditions of classical Marxism compiled together, plus a few surprises even for the most seasoned reader.” — David Laibman, editor, Science & Society
Paul Blackledge teaches at Northumbria University and Shanxi University. He is the author of Marxism and Ethics: Freedom, Desire, and Revolution, also published by SUNY Press; Reflections on the Marxist Theory of History; and Perry Anderson, Marxism and the New Left.