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.
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This man should be a household name!
- Darlene Davis
Disappointing Book and Performance
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.
- John DeVries