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The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Friedrich Engels
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2010 Penguin Classics
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), was a provocative and profoundly influential critique of the Victorian nuclear family. Engels argued that the traditional monogamous household was in fact a recent construct, closely bound up with capitalist societies. Under this patriarchal system, women were servants and, effectively, prostitutes. Only Communism would herald the dawn of communal living and a new sexual freedom and, in turn, the role of the state would become superfluous.

Frequently Bought Together

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (Penguin Classics) + The Condition of the Working Class in England (Oxford World's Classics) + The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (29 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141191112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141191119
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 89,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Friedrich Engels (1820-95) was born into a prosperous business family in Barmen near Dusseldorf. Although apprenticed to his father's business firm, Engel's sympathies moved quickly in the direction of Communism, an orientation which was cemented by the beginning of his lifelong collaboration with Marx in 1844. They jointly published The Communist Manifesto on the eve of the 1848 revolutions. In 1850 Engels moved to Manchester where he eventually became a partner in his father's firm, continuing to help Marx who was engaged in writing Das Kapital. On retirement in 1870, he settled in London from where his books such as Anti-Dühring had an immense influence on the nascent Marxist movement.

Product Description

About the Author

Friedrich Engels was born in 1820. In 1842 Engels went to Manchester to represent the family firm. Relationships there inspired the famous 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 Marx's death, he prepared the unfinished volumes of Capital for publication. He died in 1895.

Dr Tristram Hunt is one of Britain's best known young historians. Educated at Cambridge and Chicago Universities, he is lecturer in British history at Queen Mary, University of London and author of several books. A leading historical broadcaster, he has authored numerous series for the BBC and Channel 4. A regular contributor to The Times, The Guardian and The Observer, he is a Trustee of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, shame about the review 20 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
You would have thought that the official review could have at least have got the spelling of Engels' name correct.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK, I guess 28 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I guess this has not dated well, although it is interesting to see what was being thought about these subjects so long ago. The writing style is very Victorian, the last third is very heavy going. I am not sure to what extent modern anthropologists would agree with the conclusions. In sum, it's OK, I guess
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Whilst this is a crucial work upon which modern Marxist feminisms base themselves I believe that the central argument, viz. that there existed a utopian state of nature in which matriarchy was the organizing force of society, is ultimately flawed and serves only as a distraction on our ongoing quest towards creating a better working society. Let us look not towards a past about which we can never be certain but rather towards a future which we are free to shape as we wish!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 18 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback
This book, although based on several others, tell us much about the origins of our matrimonial bonds and relations. It should be read by those who truly wish to know how our society was born. Many people tend to dislike marx and engels ideas because of "recent" events in russia(urss). Very good stuff. 5 stars
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Was that it..? 19 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback
Neatly packaged in earnest self-righteous prose that has been aped by many apes, the author builds precarious towers of "reason" and proceeds to make startling leaps between them. Considering the damage flowing from the social science of Engels and Marx it is hard to be polite. Highly opinionated campaigning dressed up as research. A pioneering work of Sociology a discipline that will probably prove more destructive than Marxism itself.

Worth reading but not worthy.
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