Garner's review opens with a nod to decrying capitalism and how the practice is making a comeback:
Thanks to globalism’s discontents and the financial crisis that has spread across the planet, Karl Marx and his analysis of capitalism’s dark, wormy side are back in vogue.Garner seems to approve of the author's argument that Engels' work on "The Communist Manifesto" published in 1848 has "become a convenient scapegoat, too easily blamed for the state crimes of the Soviet Union and Communist Southeast Asia and China." After a few fun stories of Engels' affinity for fox hunting and lobster salad, Garner notes:
As artfully as Mr. Hunt flushes out Engels’s human side, he can’t — and to be fair, doesn’t try to — hide the brutal ideologue that also existed inside his cranium. Engels was an advocate, on at least one occasion, of ethnic cleansing; his writing about science helped lead to the abominations of Soviet-style scientific inquiry, which dismissed results that might be seen as bourgeois. He was a master tactician whose purging of rivals in political organizations foreshadowed later purges.Despite being a "brutal ideologue" who advocated for ethnic cleansing, the reviewer concludes:
At the end of this vivid and thoughtful biography, you are quite persuaded that Friedrich Engels would have been a fine man to drink a Margaux with.