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"Written with brio, warmth, and historical understanding, this is the best biography of one of the most attractive inhabitants of Victorian England, Marx's friend, partner, and political heir."—Eric Hobsbawm
Friedrich Engels is one of the most intriguing and contradictory figures of the nineteenth century. Born to a prosperous mercantile family, he spent his life enjoying the comfortable existence of a Victorian gentleman; yet he was at the same time the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, a ruthless political tactician, and the man who sacrificed his best years so that Karl Marx could have the freedom to write. Although his contributions are frequently overlooked, Engels's grasp of global capital provided an indispensable foundation for communist doctrine, and his account of the Industrial Revolution, The Condition of the Working Class in England, remains one of the most haunting and brutal indictments of capitalism's human cost.
Drawing on a wealth of letters and archives, acclaimed historian Tristram Hunt plumbs Engels's intellectual legacy and shows us how one of the great bon viveurs of Victorian Britain reconciled his exuberant personal life with his radical political philosophy. This epic story of devoted friendship, class compromise, ideological struggle, and family betrayal at last brings Engels out from the shadow of his famous friend and collaborator.
A spectacular new biography of the great designer, entrepreneur, abolitionist and beacon of the Industrial Revolution, from acclaimed historian and Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tristram Hunt
Josiah Wedgwood, perhaps the greatest English potter who ever lived, epitomized the best of his age. From his kilns and workshops in Stoke-on-Trent, he revolutionized the production of ceramics in Georgian Britain by marrying technology with design, manufacturing efficiency and retail flair. He transformed the luxury markets not only of London, Liverpool, Bath and Dublin but of America and the world, and helping to usher in a mass consumer society. Tristram Hunt calls him 'the Steve Jobs of the eighteenth century'.
But Wedgwood was radical in his mind and politics as well as in his designs. He campaigned for free trade and religious toleration, read pioneering papers to the Royal Society and was a member of the celebrated Lunar Society of Birmingham. Most significantly, he created the ceramic 'Emancipation Badge', depicting a slave in chains and inscribed 'Am I Not a Man and a Brother?' that became the symbol of the abolitionist movement.
Tristram Hunt's hugely enjoyable new biography, strongly based on Wedgwood's notebooks, letters and the words of his contemporaries, brilliantly captures the energy and originality of Wedgwood and his extraordinary contribution to the transformation of eighteenth-century Britain.
'History writing at its compulsive best' A. N. Wilson
This is a history of the ideas that shaped not only London, but Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield and other power-houses of 19th-century Britain. It charts the controversies and visions that fostered Britain's greatest civic renaissance.
Tristram Hunt explores the horrors of the Victorian city, as seen by Dickens, Engels and Carlyle; the influence of the medieval Gothic ideal of faith, community and order espoused by Pugin and Ruskin; the pride in self-government, identified with the Saxons as opposed to the Normans; the identification with the city republics of the Italian renaissance - commerce, trade and patronage; the change from the civic to the municipal, and greater powers over health, education and housing; and finally at the end of the century, the retreat from the urban to the rural ideal, led by William Morris and the garden-city movement of Ebenezer Howard.
Almost a quarter of a million lives were lost as King and Parliament battled for their religious and political ideals in the English Civil War. England was divided between Cavaliers and Roundheads engaged in bitter struggles from Preston to Lostwithiel, Pembroke to York. Armies were on the march, villages were decimated and great dynasties destroyed: fathers and sons, uncles and cousins were pitted against each other in defence of their loyalties. The civil war led to the execution of a king, the beginnings of sectarian division in Ireland, savage clan warfare in Scotland and the roots of English socialism.
Tristram Hunt avoids adding to the many, mostly transitory interpretations of the civil war and instead offers a timeless narrative based on the first-hand accounts of those who witnessed these traumatic events. In doing so he brings out the voices of the civil war generation - those who lost sons, who witnessed massacres and who fought for an ideal. In this book we see their motivations, fears and misery as the horror of war overwhelmed them. From Cromwell's letters to the memoirs of a Roundhead wife the civil war era is brought to life in all its terrible and fascinating glory.