This is a fine, readable biography of Friedrich Engels in a similar vein to Francis Wheens Karl Marx
but not such a virtuso performance. It more than competently covers Engels rich and varied life, anchoring it in the context of his times, as he journeys from his birth place in Germany to exile in London with more than a few points in between. The tone of the book is generally sound, and not infrequently quite funny - as is Engels. . . and Marx for that matter. There is an element of finger wagging on Hunts part about some of Engels real or alleged misdemeanours, but I rather think M.A. Krul in his above (or below?) review is being rather too sensitive in regarding this as "hostility" towards Engels on Tristram Hunts part.
The philosophical roots and theory of Marxism are clearly explained for those of us, like myself, who are a little light on the nitty gritty of Marxist theory. Developments in Engels wide intellectual interests are giving room as well as his copious writings on issues as diverse as Communism, Science, Feminism, Family and Warfare. His relationship with Marx recieves ample coverage and it is evident from this, and other books Ive read, that they got on like a house on fire: writing to each another daily and when they were both in London they visited each other daily aswell (and this despite Marxs perpetual cadging!). When Marx died Engels looked after his intellectual, aswell as his biological, offspring.
I was sorry that the book had to end which is always a good sign, and while there are a few quibbling problems with the book (which could have done with being polished up a little) I wouldnt hesitate to reccommend it to anyone whether or not they are ideologically committed, or even sympathetic, to Socialism.