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Written when Engels was only twenty-four, and inspired in particular by his time living amongst the poor in Manchester, this forceful polemic explores the staggering human cost of the Industrial Revolution in Victorian England. Engels paints an unforgettable picture of daily life in the new industrial towns, and for miners and agricultural workers - depicting overcrowded housing, abject poverty, child labour, sexual exploitation, dirt and drunkenness - in a savage indictment of the greed of the bourgeoisie. His fascinating later preface, written for the first English edition of 1892 and included here, brought the story up to date in the light of forty years' further refelection. A masterpiece of committed reporting and an impassioned call to arms, this is one of the great pioneering works of social history.
Friedrich Engels was born in Germany in 1820, the son of a textile manufacturer. After his military training in Berlin he became Manchester agent of his father's business, and soon became immersed in the problems of the urban proletariat newly created by the industrial revolution. In 1844 he wrote this famous book and by 1848 he was a firm friend of Marx. Their ideas were incorporated into The Communist Manifesto, although the writing of the Manifesto itself was solely Marx's work. Engels provided Marx with money, and after 1870 spent all his time assisting him in his research and in supplying ideas and leadership to international socialism. After Marx's death Engels continued to work on Das Kapital, and completed it in 1894, a year before his own death. He also wrote The Peasant War in Germany, The Origin of the Family, Socialism, Utopianism and Scientific, and much else.