He had always been an involuntary factory owner. Without agreeing to tend his German father’s business interests in Manchester he would have lacked the income for himself and Marx to live in the comfort they took as their right. The profligate Marx was constantly on the edge of penury. Engels counted his pennies (or rather his tens of thousands of pounds) more carefully but did not stint in his pleasures. He rode out regularly with the prestigious and costly Cheshire Hounds. He drank wine of quality and Pilsner beer in quantity. He treated himself to bevies of young women, including prostitutes. He dressed in fashion.
(…) Engels was a man of his times and a lot of his comments on women, homosexuals, Slavs and non-European races would now be thought objectionable. Perhaps, though, the author could have given us a little more on the question of Engels’s responsibility for the later oppression in the USSR. Engels did not advocate the establishment of a dictatorial elite to inaugurate the perfect society. But several cardinal features of his thought (amoralism, anti-peasantism, state centralism and pseudo-scientific confidence) were bricks in the pyramid of the Soviet order. This is not to deny that if Engels, who died in 1895, had lived in Russia after 1917 he would hardly have been likely to escape arrest as a free-thinking communist dissenter.