Friend and collaborator of the also German Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels is known worldwide for his publications, aimed at complementing Marx’s work in the communist and socialist field.
Engels was in charge of editing and publishing the second and third volumes of “Capital”, he also organized Marx’s notes to elaborate the “Theories on surplus value”, which would be published by Kautsky as the fourth volume.
He carried out studies in philosophy, economics, natural sciences, and mathematics, and continued developing theoretical works of his worldview in several publications.
His best-known books are The Dialectics of Nature of 1883, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State of 1884, and Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy of 1888.
Engels emphasizes the methodological value of philosophy, contributing considerably with his dialectical logic, theory of knowledge, and critique of agnosticism.
Here you will find a selection of 14 books by Frederick Engels available for free reading and downloading in PDF format.
1) The Communist Manifesto
The Manifesto of the Communist Party, often referred to simply as the Communist Manifesto, is an early text by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels written as a manifesto between 1847 and 1848 when the revolutions of 1848 began.
It was commissioned by the League of Communists, and first published in London on February 21, 1848, as a 23-page pamphlet that recognizes the Communists as a political force in Europe and sets out their concepts, aims, and tendencies.
It already reflects the previous foundations of Marxism, including the materialist conception of history, the class struggle, and the conflicts of the capitalist mode of production. However, it is still before the development of Marxist economics.
2) Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science
In Herr Eugen Dühring Revolution in Science, also known as Anti-Dühring Engels dives into a deep and insightful critique of the philosophical and political ideas proposed by Eugen Dühring, an influential 19th-century thinker.
Through clear and forceful prose, Engels meticulously dismantles Dühring's theories, especially in the fields of philosophy, political economy, and socialism.
This book stands out as a landmark in Marxist philosophy, providing a brilliant and visionary critique of the bourgeois thought of the time.
3) Articles from the Labour Standard
Articles from the Labor Standard is an exceptional collection of writings by renowned author Friedrich Engels. Originally published in the 19th century, these articles stand out as an invaluable source of knowledge about the labor movement and the struggle for labor rights.
Throughout the pages of this book, Engels reveals the adverse conditions in which workers of the time found themselves, denouncing the injustices and inequalities they faced in their struggle for a dignified life.
His analysis and arguments remain surprisingly relevant today, as many of the problems and challenges he addresses remain relevant to contemporary labor struggles.
4) Condition of the Working Class in England
Condition of the Working Class in England is one of Friedrich Engels' best-known books. It is a study of the living conditions of workers in Victorian England.
The book is considered a classic account of the condition of workers in the industry. Originally intended for a German audience, it was first published in 1845.
Engels wrote the book from his own observations and from detailed accounts he obtained at the time. The result was a document of the condition of hardship in which workers lived in the industrial areas of England.
5) Dialectics of Nature
Dialectics of Nature is an unfinished work by Friedrich Engels. It was composed of a series of annotations written between 1873 and 1883 on Marxist ideas applied to the natural and mathematical sciences.
The author wrote most of the manuscript between 1872 and 1882, which was a mixture of German, French, and English annotations on the contemporary development of science and technology.
Engels focuses on showing how contemporary science had come to conceive of the universe, matter, and nature in a continuous state of motion and change.
6) The Housing Question
The Housing Question by renowned author Friedrich Engels is a landmark in socio-political literature and comprehensive analysis of one of humanity's most pressing issues: housing.
Throughout its pages, Engels thoroughly examines the living conditions of the working class and exposes the deep roots of the housing crisis.
Engels offers an alternative vision based on collective ownership and centralized planning, presenting concrete solutions to address the housing problem and promote social justice.
7) Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy
Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy is a book written in 1886 and published in 1888. The work reviews the philosophical roots of Marxism and critically treats German philosophy from its materialist view of history and dialectics.
According to Friedrich Engels himself, the seed of this book had its origin 40 years earlier in The German Ideology, written by Marx and Engels, but unpublished during their lives.
There, they settled accounts with earlier Hegelianism, outlining their materialist view of history with and against Hegel and the Hegelians.
8) Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State is an informative treatise on historical materialism, which saw the light in 1884. It is partially based on Karl Marx's notes on the book The Ancient Society, by the American anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan and others.
Engels expanded Morgan's hypothesis that economic factors caused the transformation of the primitive community into a class-divided society.
Engels' theory of resource control, and later that of Karl Marx, was used to explain the cause and effect of the change in family structure and function.
9) The Peasant Question in France and Germany
The Peasant Question in France and Germany is an outstanding work by the renowned author Friedrich Engels. Originally published in 1894, this book offers an insightful and revealing analysis of the conditions and challenges facing peasants in both countries.
Engels, with his insight and commitment to social justice, thoroughly examines the agrarian structures, power relations, and socioeconomic transformations that affected peasants in the context of 19th-century Europe.
With a meticulous approach and based on rigorous research, the author exposes the contradictions inherent in the agrarian system and proposes solutions to improve the living conditions of the peasants.
10) The Peasant War in Germany
The Peasant War in Germany is a book written in 1850, which seeks to explain the revolts of the sixteenth century.
Engels wrote the book in the summer of 1850 in London, following the failure of the revolutions of 1848, drawing a parallel between this uprising and the also failed Peasants' War of 1525.
The book discusses the complex social structure of Germany in the 16th century. Engels argues that capitalism and Protestantism are associated, as Max Weber, in his work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
11) The Principles of Communism
Principles of Communism is a short work written in 1847. It is structured as a catechism, containing 25 questions on communism, each with answers.
In the text, Engels presents the central ideas of Marxism such as historical materialism, class struggle, and workers' revolution. Principles of Communism served as a draft for the Communist Manifesto.
The Principles of Communism was composed between October and November 1847 and was preceded by the draft Catechism, Profession or Confession of Faith of the Communists, a very similar but distinct text Engels had previously written in June 1847.
12) Revolution and CounterRevolution in Germany
Engels in this work summarizes and analyzes the revolution of 1848 and 1849 in Germany (deepening his previous writing entitled The Peasant Wars in Germany of 1850).
In Revolution and Counterrevolution in Germany, the author analyzes the position of historical materialism, offering a detailed examination of its premises, the fundamental stages of its development, and the positions of the various classes and parties.
In it, the tactical principles of the Revolutionary struggle of the proletariat are raised and the bases of the Marxist doctrine of armed insurrection are exposed.
13) Socialism - Utopian and Scientific
Utopian Socialism to Scientific Socialism is a short book first published in 1880. The work was mainly drawn from a longer polemical work published in 1876, entitled Anti-Dühring.
Intended as a popularization of Marxist ideas for working-class readers, the book was one of the seminal publications of the international socialist movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, selling tens of thousands of copies.
The book explains the differences between the two socialisms. While utopian socialism is idealistic, reflecting the personal views of the authors and claiming that society can be adapted according to these views, scientific socialism is derived from reality.
14) The Holy Family
The Holy Family, written collaboratively by renowned authors Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, is a revolutionary treatise that explores the socioeconomic and political dynamics of 19th-century bourgeois society.
Through penetrating prose and rigorous analysis, Engels and Marx unmask the contradictions and vices of the capitalist system, exposing the inherent inequalities and exploitation.
Engels and Marx challenge traditional conceptions of property, alienation, and exploitation, presenting a transformative vision based on collective ownership and social equality.