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Somehow I had expected this would be simply Tom Paine's writing, not a whole book about him. History, philosophy and politics are not my strengths, but I've lived long enough and traveled enough that I do care about these things. I found another audio book on the same topics, Founding Brothers, very difficult listening, although I believed it was well narrated. This book by contrast is almost suspenseful. The narrator reads with great understanding, but the book is written so as to be interesting. This author has an exciting mind!
Back in high school I didn't really get it about the deists. And who cared about the Louisiana Purchase? Paine was already trying to solve the problem of slavery, develop a plan for freed slaves. Paine even foresaw a need for a welfare system. Well, goodness! It's a most stimulating book. Educational, exciting, most worthwhile.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
I picked this up after hearing Thomas Paine's unwavering irreligious convictions referred to by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in their atheist literature. Unfortunately there was not as much information in this vein as I'd hoped, though the last chapter(s?) did recount his later life when his religious views came into sharper focus. Mostly this was interesting in terms of American/British history, and the history of philosophy about human rights.
As others have noted, it is occasionally difficult to tell where a quotation ends and the main text resumes; but genterally the narration is expemplary with some very nice Scottish brogue thrown in for spice.
9 of 10 people found this review helpful
Christopher's writing is as sublime as ever. Witty and insightful. Only Hitchens could make a potentially dry biography such a "page-turner".
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Wow, this man was central to modern politics and I barely knew him. Christopher presents Thomas in a fair light. Showing his strengths and genius and the demanding road he travelled as very human. He was a great debater and policitcal writer. The best brains in the world could not defeat his arguments. Comparing this man to modern politicans , he was prepared to offer his life for his politics. His influence on world politics was perhaps the greatest in history. We owe him great respect. This is a highlights book, which distills Paines history in a Johhnie Walker Black Label blend. It encourages me to read Paines work and other books on this great man.