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Publisher's Summary

John Adams told Thomas Jefferson that “history is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Paine.” Thomas Edison called him “the equal of Washington in making American liberty possible.” He was a founder of both the United States and the French Revolution. He invented the phrase, “The United States of America.” He rose from abject poverty in working-class England to the highest levels of the era’s intellectual elite. And yet, by the end of his life, Thomas Paine was almost universally reviled. He had run afoul of Washington, broke with Robespierre and narrowly escaped the guillotine, and was all but exiled from his native England.
©2006 Craig Nelson (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Darlene Davis on 11-21-11

This man should be a household name!

Craig Nelson knows how to tell a story. There are passages and scenes that are so riveting you almost think they are made up for dramatic effect. Why did my professors in college not mention this man?
Seems like bad PR followed Thomas Paine's name up until the present time. Nelson does a fine job at explaining why and how this happened, and for anyone who wants to get the whole story about the American Revolution, they simply must listen/read this book. You won't regret it! Then download Common Sense.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By John DeVries on 12-11-12

Disappointing Book and Performance

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Two significant problems, one with the source material (the book) and the other with the narrator. The book itself is poorly suited to being turned into audio-book format. It does not present a clear narrative line, but often includes long stretches of only partially relevant quote from original sources. It also frequently goes off on a tangent to follow secondary characters influencing Paine's life. These may work in print, but disrupt the narrative flow in audio format.

To add to those problems, the narrator frequently pauses at the wrong point, separating sentences where there is no separation. At many points I had to post-analyze what had been said to figure out what had been meant.

Overall, this audio-book is not so bad that I won't finish listening, but it is a major disappointment compared to other history books I have heard.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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