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The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the

Friedrich Engels

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nd or the sister on the opposite, who can be brothers and sisters no longer. The latter have mutual parents no more, neither father nor mother nor both together. And for this reason the class of nephews and nieces, male and female cousins, here becomes necessary for the first time. Under the former family order this would have been absurd. The American system of kinship, which appears absolutely paradoxical in any family form founded on monogamy, is rationally explained and naturally confirmed in its most minute details by the Punaluan family. Wherever this system of kinship was in force, there the Punaluan family or at least a form akin to it must also have existed.

This family form, the existence of which in Hawaii was actually demonstrated, would have been transmitted probably by all Polynesia, if the pious missionaries, similar to the Spanish monks in America, could have looked upon such anti-Christian relations as being something more than simply a "horror.". . . Read More

Community Reviews

So obviously this book carries with it a ton of caveats. The modern reader absolutely must pair it with new texts based on updated anthropological data. Engels was working with the bad data he had available to him, which was unfortunately all from a racist, patriarchal, paternalistic perspective, an

One of the very first IMPORTANT works that I ever read in university. This provoked discussion among my friends and felt RELEVANT despite being so very old. If Karl Marx is too 'dry' for you (or too long!) then try Engels, Marx's tag team partner in thought! --Jen from Quebec :0)

The book, written in 1884, examines controversies of the time as to the origin of the State. Research and knowledge available up to that point seem to point to common levels of human progress which the author says confirms his idea that society was once based on a communistic model. He cites informa

Friedrich Engels takes you on a tour around the evolution of the human society into the current establishment we take for granted as the ever-existing standard. No doubt there are many holes left in this study of anthropology, it provides a systematic study into the transformation of an egalitarian

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