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The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,646 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
with a Preface written in 1892
Translated by Florence Kelley Wischnewetzky
Published October 11th 2007 by BiblioLife (first published 1845)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Introduction, by Tristram Hunt
To the Working Classes of Great Britain
Preface to the First German Edition
Preface to the English Edition

--The Condition of the Working Class in England

Epilogue, by Victor Kiernan
Further Reading
A harrowing and frightening book. Some things really have not changed over the past two centuries.

A grisly tour of the slums of the factory towns of the Industrial Revolution. Engels, an angry young man, details the blackened suffering of the workers there, their ignorance, poverty, sickness. I recall many similar details from Mike Davis' book on a 'planet of slums', and many things I've seen too. Beggars with severed and gnarled limbs, live wires, poisoned water. The narrow maze-like patch-work
Jade Heslin
Jan 23, 2014 Jade Heslin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This started off as being the foulest piece of drudgery that I had ever cast my eyes upon. Engels is a very wordy man, and once he gets going he’s like a steam train in motion. But once we get past the gruelling first chapter, in which he lists all the different types of fabrics and methods of making them, we actually get a terrific, thought-provoking, persuasive argument against capitalism.

AND IT HAS LOTS OF MANCHESTER IN IT! He wrote this while he was here with his bezzo, Karl Marx. I absolute
In the words of my partner, a corker. It leaves you with a number of impressions.

The most overpowering is just rage and sadness at how the industrial revolution decimated lives. Half of children dead by the age of 5, average life expectancy from 45 to 50, the malnourtrition, cold, damp, misshapen bodies, impotency and infertility, lost limbs, lost lives.
'The English working men call this 'social murder', and accuse our whole society of perpetrating this crime perpetually. Are they wrong? (38)

Aug 22, 2007 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marxists; labor historians; Victorian studies readers
Excellent work on Industrial Revolution, but it does contain racist ugly filth about the Irish.
Feb 25, 2012 Clif rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only reason I don't give this book five stars is that a good part of it is filled with a detailed account of the very thing it is supposed to be about - the awful condition of the workers. How can that be a liability? It is because you don't need to know all the details in 2011.

You can get an excellent idea of the conditions by reading just a few pages - long hours, dangerous machinery, no sick leave, poor nutrition, freezing or hot work environment, preying upon women by overseers, fines or
Rosa Ramôa
Jan 07, 2016 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Este aglomerado de dois milhões e meio de seres humanos (...) elevou Londres a capital comercial do mundo (...).Mas os sacrifícios que tudo isto custou manifestaram-se mais tarde.(...)As centenas de milhar de pessoas de todas as classes e categorias sociais que se acotovelam não serão todos seres humanos com as mesmas qualidades e faculdades e com o mesmo interesse em serem felizes? (...)".
Matti Karjalainen
Friedrich Engelsin nuoruudentyö "Työväenluokan asema Englannissa" (Into, 2015) ilmestyi alun perin vuonna 1845, mutta suomeksi se saatiin ensimmäisen kerran julkaistua vasta tänä vuonna.

Teos on voimakas poliittinen manifesti, mutta myös mielenkiintoinen aikamatka teollistuneen vallankumouksen läpikäyneeseen Iso-Britanniaan ja työväenluokan elämään tehdaskaupungeissa. 1800-luvun historiasta kiinnostunut lukija saa hänkin kirjasta varmasti paljon irti.

"Työväenluokan asema Englannissa" ei ole kuit
Anton Himmelstrand
May 29, 2014 Anton Himmelstrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librivox
Enjoyable both as an historical document and as political statement about industrial society.

In “The Condition of the Working Class in England”, Engels gives a long an detailed description of the state of the great Victorian industrial towns – and of their less fortunate inhabitants. The reader is shepherded through crumbling working-man's districts, gin-palaces, prison-like factory floors, mines filled with lung-destroying dust, damp cellars and the increasingly mechanized countryside. In many
G.D. Master
Jun 01, 2015 G.D. Master rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Academics, economists, sociologists, literary critics, and philosophers
During the nineteenth century steam power and the cotton gin changed economics, cities, and social classes. Much of the industrialized specialization or rationalization of the world that people and the media take for granted in the twenty-first century began during this period. More people started to live in cities and a middle class labor force grew from employment in industry and commerce. Unforeseen problems began to occur when industrialists learned that they could use workers for extended h ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must say upfront I detest Marxist-Leninism in its 20th century form and the post-modern left with their support for terrorism, Islamism , Jew/Israel-hatred, dictatorship and anti-white racism. Though I am a democratic socialist in the tradition of
Aneurin Bevan and Harold Wilson . But this book as a work of history for anyone studying the circumstances of the working class in Britain at the time this is indispensable
As a historian Engels was brilliant.
The fact is that the Industrial Revolution
Oct 27, 2012 Donovan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Engels is the proverbial Garfunkel to Marx's Simon. What a bland, tedious stylist by comparison!

Engels all but holds his nose as he tiptoes through the backstreets of industrial England. What are his principal objections to poverty, exploitation, and misery? The offensive smells, of course! Oh, and the fact that it causes women to enter the workforce. And forces men and women to sleep and work in close quarters. Who knew Engels was such a prudish church lady!
Aasem Bakhshi
If a 19th century account of conditions of British proletariat can be called spine-chilling then this is it. On a different note, however, nothing much is changed in terms of universal characterizations, and working classes of the world go through more or less similar horrors all across the world. On the bottom of it, even though the classical definitions of proletariat and bourgeoisies have gone under various transformations, its always man against his destiny.
Scott Goddard
Jan 16, 2015 Scott Goddard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This anthropological, ethnographic study examines the English Working Class, with particular emphasis and inquiry into the "North", that is to say, Manchester, Scotland, and other towns and cities that lie above Birmingham. Of course Engels lucidly describes towns and cities of the South, but to a lesser extent.

From a quick cursory read over the other reviews, one criticism of the book is a recurrent iteration of the same point; for me, this point does not hold, and I felt there to be a apprecia
Comrade  Mohd Aliff
This book paints a VERY shocking picture of 19th century England during Industrial Revolution and also of Capitalism in general. It's not a theoretical work unlike many of Engels' other works but rather a SOCIAL REPORT on how the workers being exploited while denying them the most basic principles of human rights and dignity. A must-read classics; readable and informative.
Jun 05, 2015 Owain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I should have read in school. It's a book everyone should read in school to be fair but I feel as if I was cheated a little in the fact that I was taught about all the subjects in this book. We covered the enclosure acts and how the common lands were sold to those with enough money to buy them whilst the poor peasants were turfed off the land they used for their livelihoods. Deprived of this means of existence they were forced to migrate to the cities to work in the burgeoning man ...more
Stephen Mahon
Engels detailed study of the working class in Victorian England is remarkable when you consider (a) He was German and (b) he was only 25 when he completed it. He out does the anti Semitism in some of his other tomes with a fair smattering of anti Irishness in this one. But no matter. We can put that down to age. o.O Reads like a detailed and thorough report in parts, but isn't without humour. And it is a thoroughly fascinating stroll around English cities of that era.

Random quotes:

“In Birmingham
Jan 18, 2013 S.D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
America “solved” its class problem with a myth of upward mobility that appeared to be real for three decades, thanks to what Galbraith in 1952 called countervailing power; a means Engles suggested, more than a century, was the only resource available to the destitute working class of England – albeit as a step toward revolution. Perhaps the English working class Engles credits with knowing the cause of its mid-19th Century plight did comprehend it better than America’s in the 21st Century, where ...more
Nov 17, 2015 Nihad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The books is a very important text if you are a researcher or you like history, other than that no fun read.though some parts are repetitive and boring, but on the overall an insightful reading.
Dustin Hanvey
Aug 26, 2011 Dustin Hanvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Useful for a lot of specific details about the effects of the early Industrial Revolution in England as it contains a lot of very shocking and troubling details about life for the workers in the factories, mines, and farms as a more modern, technology-driven society began to dominate. The impact of this book is impossible to overestimate in terms of 20th-21st century politics and economics. Where Engels went wrong is in believing too strongly in the telos he (and Marx) set up for the world. His ...more
Sep 20, 2014 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read this - Engels is as fun of a person as Marx!
It is not very happy of a book, but in my History of Communism class, I am positive I saw this before.
Anthony Zupancic
It certainly identifies the horrible social effects of the industrial revolution. If you are unsure where the Communist Manifesto came from, or why, read this.
Dec 13, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Required reading for Modern History at University of Alberta. More significant and relevant than many of Engels' or Marx's works.
Oct 23, 2010 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seminal study of the working class. Engels explores some of the factory towns in Northern England and finds them wanting. From a Marxist standpoint this book is a cautionary tale of what happens when workers don't control the means of diddly; from a human standpoint it's a tragic, vivid document of lives lived in subhuman conditions. This book was one of the early reformist treatises that helped pave the way for labor laws and social improvement during the height of the industrial revolution. En ...more
Feb 03, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Littered with Marxist thought, but otherwise a really good insight into 19th century Britain.
One of the best reads, ever!
Sinan Öner
I read Engels' book, I liked.
Oct 21, 2015 Nattyc30 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
May 04, 2014 Charlotte rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poli-sci
It is petty amazing that Engels wrote this as a tender 20 year-old. He has gone into tremendous depth describing the situation of the poor, despite having to disguise his own aristocratic backgrounds. While the book can be accused of excessively idealistic or sexist, it is still worth a revisit at a time when inequality floods contemporary discourse.
Oct 06, 2012 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: penguin-classics
Boring, dull, uninspired, insipid nonsense. Rich white guy worrying about poor white guys. I don't care for the Victorians, nor their writings (nearly all of which is completely male-centric). This book certainly did nothing to change my mind. Only slightly better than Dickens due to Engels seemed to write for a purpose other than profit.
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In 1820, Friedrich Engels was born in Germany into a wealthy family. Managing a branch of his father's business in Manchester, England, from 1842-1845, Engels became appalled at the poverty of the workers. He wrote his first socialist work, Conditions of the Working Class in England. After their meeting in 1844, Engels and Karl Marx became lifelong colleagues. While co-writing an article with Enge ...more
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“The middle classes have a truly extraordinary conception of society. They really believe that human beings . . . have real existence only if they make money or help to make it.” 8 likes
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