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THOMAS PAINE by Albert Marrin


Crusader for Liberty: How One Man's Ideas Helped Form a New Nation

by Albert Marrin

Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-375-86674-6
Publisher: Knopf

This exploration of Thomas Paine and his passionate writings in support of liberty provides insight into a turbulent period of change in the United States, England and France.

Thomas Paine left 18th-century England with a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin and Philadelphia as his destination. Before long, Paine had a job as an editor of the Pennsylvania Magazine, and his life as a passionate writer of ideals was launched. Turning his initial focus from abolition to independence, Paine wrote Common Sense, the pamphlet that would make him a sensation and change the face of political writing. “He wrote for the common people, those like him. To influence them, he had to grab their attention by appealing to their intelligence and to their emotions.” After supporting American independence, Paine turned his attention to the French Revolution, publishing The Rights of Man and landing himself in prison. Upon release, he began work on another controversial treatise, The Age of Reason, in which he criticized organized religion, especially Christianity. In a clear, straightforward narrative illustrated with archival images, Marrin provides the necessary context for readers to appreciate Paine’s impact and the role he has played in the concept of “American exceptionalism.” While it deliberately focuses on his ideas, there is still a clear picture of the man behind them.

A valuable aid in understanding a historical period that continues to resonate.

(notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)