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The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels A Reinterpretation

The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels A Reinterpretation

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by J.D. Hunley

For the last thirty years, scholars have stressed differences between the ideas of Marx and Engels and have blamed the failures of twentieth-century communism on Engels alone. In this book J. D. Hunley refutes this view, arguing that Engels did not disagree with Marx about important issues and did not distort Marx's views after the latter's death. Hunley shows that Engels possessed a wide-ranging intellect and would hardly have supported the repressive regimes that until recently prevailed in Eastern Europe and still exist in China and elsewhere.

Hunley begins with an extended sketch of Engels' life and intellectual achievements, describing his family background, education, and career. Then, drawing on Marx's and Engels' works and correspondence, he discusses the friendship between the two men, demonstrating their basic agreement on such issues as the Communist Manifesto, epistemology and method, reformism, humanism, positivism, and determinism. According to Hunley, Marx and Engels collaborated on a great variety of works over a period that extended even beyond Marx's death. In view of Marx's heated and repeated ruptures with other former friends and allies, his harmonious relationship with Engels testifies eloquently to the two men's fundamental intellectual agreement. It is not without reason, says Hunley, that Marx himself called Engels his alter ego; "dichotomist scholars" who have pictured Engels as the first revisionist of Marx have both underestimated Engels' role in shaping Marx's ideas and overestimated the differences between the two men.