CHRISTMAS BOOKS TO MAKE YOU THINK
Book 2: ENGELS: A Revolutionary Life by John Green (Artery Publications £10)
The Victorian Che Guevara is acknowledged yet again in this top book that will keep you riveted and cursing your political lethargy throughout the winter. Engels, based for over twenty years in Salford at Victoria Mill in Weaste, lived life to the max, both here and throughout Europe.
As Green states in his intro, many of Engels' biographers have "buried him under the dust sheets of history…I have tried to remove much of the historical dust, in order to reveal the man of flesh and blood hidden beneath, someone we can readily identify with and who comes alive through his passionate historical intervention."
Green succeeds as best that anyone can, taking the reader through from Engels life as an angry young man in his hometown Barmen in Germany, through to his secret life in Manchester and Salford - living as a bourgeois mill manager by day, and a revolutionary activist by night – to being the most wanted man in Europe, manning the barricades of the Prussian uprising and pioneering urban guerrilla warfare.
Engels liked wine, women and madcap horse riding, called himself a `Communist Bohemian' and his books and theories and inspiration really did change the world - with Karl Marx he wrote The Communist Manifesto and, with his long time lover Mary Burns taking him around the squalid back streets of Manchester and Salford, he wrote The Conditions of the Working Class In England.
While there's not much that's new to report in this book because there's so little left of Engels' life (he destroyed thousands of letters between himself and Karl Marx), Green does pull it all into an easy to digest, dense 350 pages that originally came out a year before Tristram Hunt's Engels biog, The Frock Coated Communist.
Green's book is basically everything you need to know about the most famous man who ever breathed in Salford.
"In both his life and work, he was motivated primarily by a deep humanity and revulsion of oppression and exploitation everywhere" writes Green in his intro. Aren't we all? Not at much as this bloke Engels – he'll leave you breathless as he charges around Europe, literally putting the world to rights with a pen and a gun and his best girl(s) by his side…
Can we have Engels: The Movie next please????
ENGELS: A Revolutionary Life by John Green (Artery Publications paperback £10)
Available from Amazon click here
To read the short Salford Star Engels biog about his time in Salford click here