Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations

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Penguin, Sep 4, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 432 pages
4 Reviews
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A fresh new look at the Enlightenment intellectual who became the most controversial of America's founding fathers

Despite his being a founder of both the United States and the French Republic, the creator of the phrase "United States of America," and the author of Common Sense, Thomas Paine is the least well known of America's founding fathers. This edifying biography by Craig Nelson traces Paine's path from his years as a London mechanic, through his emergence as the voice of revolutionary fervor on two continents, to his final days in the throes of dementia. By acquainting us as never before with this complex and combative genius, Nelson rescues a giant from obscurity-and gives us a fascinating work of history.

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User Review  - Sullywriter - LibraryThing

This is an outstandingl portrait fascinating, wonderfully complex genius. I have read Common Sense and some of American Crisis. This book makes me want to read them again and the rest oif Paine's work. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bigmoose - LibraryThing

This was my introduction to Thomas Paine, insightful and informative. A bit slow in later chapters. Nice set up with a beginning chapter describing an event following Paine's death and burial. An ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Mission of Atonement
Begotten by a Wild Boar on a Bitch Wolf
Pragmatic Utopians
Hell Is Not Easily Conquered
The Silas Deane Affair
The Missionary Bereft of His Mission
Droits de lHomme ou Droits du Seigneur?
The Sovereigns Among
The Religion of Science
The Perfidious Mr Morris
Utopian Dissolves

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About the author (2007)

Craig Nelson is the author of four previous books, including The First Heroes and Let's Get Lost. His writings have appeared in Salon, The New England Review, Blender, Genre, and a host of other publications. He was an editor at HarperCollins, Hyperion, and Random House for almost twenty years and has been profiled by Variety, Interview, Manhattan, Inc., and Time Out.

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