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A disturbing observation on the nature of capitalism
on 11 October 2001
This was the first book written to describe the lives of the working people in Victorian Britain. It paints a shocking picture of poverty, exploitation and the utter despair of the working class as they work themselves slowly to death without any reward, in a society where those in power do everything they can to make as much profit from the workers while denying them the most basic principles of human rights and dignity.
I had always been aware that Victorian Britain was well known for the poverty of its masses, but nothing prepared me for the detailed, horrifying descriptions of living and working conditions, starvation, disease and a stagnant existence of poverty in which there was literally no way out of except suicide.
For all its justified power, I do feel that Engels does tend to drift from being a critical and detatched observer in favour of spectacular tirades championing the case of the working class. Though this is clearly understandable as a result of what he saw and experienced in the numerous cities of England and Scotland in the twenty-two months he spent in Britian for the material of the book.
The first book to give the working class a voice in a society which entirely suppressed it, and a damning study of the cruel and exploitative nature of capitalism, which proves to be as relevant now (with the imergance of globalisation) as it was when first written in 1844.