Are the father-centered family, private property, and the state necessary and inevitable part of all human societies?
Frederick Engels, coworker of Karl Marx, says no. Engels demonstrates that these three institutions arose in the fairly recent history of the human race, as a way to establish the rule of the many over the few. And, conversley, when these institutions are an obstacle to human progress, they can be dismantled.
Although this book was written about 125 years ago, the subject matter and his point of view sound surprisingly modern. Evelyn Reed, a Marxist anthropologist, writes a 1972 introduction that updates the original work from the point of view of 20th century anthropology debates abd the rise of modern women's movement. An additional short article by Engels, "The part played by labor in the transition from ape to man" is a lively piece that could be part of today's debates on human origin with almost no hint of its vintage (except maybe for his use of the term "man", instead of gender-neutral "humanity").