Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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


5 of 5 stars  *****

I now understand why I knew very little about Thomas Paine, other than he being the author of "Common Sense." His brilliance and enigmatic nature cause devotion and hatred, depending on one's philosophy of life and government. Many contradicting, defamatory claims about this man have been dispelled but some are kept alive still by those less informed. His writings are studied and quoted widely. 

Author, Craig Nelson, reveals Paine's deep and honest pursuit of truth. It seems that those who pursue truth above all else cause the most controversy since most people are not keen on incriminating exposure. This biography does not only show Thomas Paine's greatness but also his deficiencies; hence, the opportunity for his enemies to slander and assault him. Some of Paine's most worthy adversaries were once his closest friends. 

The challenges of Thomas Paine's writings inspire some and enrage others. For any man to write such powerful prose that arouses countries to either employ him or convict him is a testament to his profundity. 

I shall endeavor to read his other masterpieces, "Rights of Man" and "The Age of Reason."