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Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom
     

Thomas Paine: Apostle of Freedom

by Jack Fruchtman, Jr., Jack Fruchtman Jr.
 

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The leading Thomas Paine expert in the U.S. presents both a biography of the controversial Founding Father and an analysis of his works. Known as "the Voice of the Revolution, " Paine was a truly original thinker, a man whose magnificient, freedom-loving spirit is richly captured in this major biography.

Overview

The leading Thomas Paine expert in the U.S. presents both a biography of the controversial Founding Father and an analysis of his works. Known as "the Voice of the Revolution, " Paine was a truly original thinker, a man whose magnificient, freedom-loving spirit is richly captured in this major biography.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Radical journalist Thomas Paine (1737-1809), whose pamphlet Common Sense (1776) steeled American colonists to break with England, was a revolutionary, a statesman, an outspoken opponent of slavery and an advocate of democracy. He fought for constitutional safeguards to protect the unemployed and the working poor, for free public education, old-age benefits and public assistance. Born in England, Paine moved to Philadelphia in 1774, later shuttling between England, France and America. A moderate delegate to France's National Convention, he was imprisoned amid the Reign of Terror; and although Robespierre ordered his execution, Paine was released after 10 months. Disillusioned, poor and frustrated he turned to drink, Freemasonry and spiritualism. In Paris in 1797, he founded the Theophilanthropists, a humanistic ethical society seeking global moral renewal. Resettling in the U.S. in 1802, Paine feuded bitterly with Federalists who scorned him and his Jeffersonian friends. Political science professor Fruchtman (Towson State Univ., Md.) has written a spirited, riveting biography that cogently argues that Paine was a pantheist who saw God's handiwork in all nature and in humanity's struggles to improve the common good. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Library Journal
With new insights into Paine's troubled, if triumphant, life comes new understanding of his writings, those seeds of our revolution. One can't read this long-overdue, revealing, and moving biography without feeling both the admiration and the same frustrations Fruchtman (Thomas Paine and the Religion of Nature, Johns Hopkins, 1993) did, coming away angered that "the problems...tragically remain today." The role of the true revolutionary is exposed, and Fruchtman's study succeeds better than most in giving us deeper understanding of that lonesome role and its purpose. We haven't yet come even half way as a society to meet Paine's vision. In the whole work, and especially in his last chapter, "Assessment," Fruchtman comes very near to that indistinct line between biographer and champion. His solid work corrects earlier lies about Paine, and if he slips into exhortation, it is only because no one could know Paine so well and not be so affected. Paine's spirit lives, restrained only by scholarly discipline, making for a highly readable, highly recommended work.-John Berry, "Library Journal"
Booknews
This finely-written biography covers Paine's early life, the various odd occupations that preceded his political career, his life as a journalist and political activist in the US, France and England, and his embittered later years. Fruchtman (political science, Towson State U., Maryland) has written a timely text on a fascinating radical thinker, focusing in particular on his commitment to freedom from tyranny, religious superstition, slavery and poverty; his defense of universal rights; and the spiritual beliefs that informed his work and writing. The author also debunks historical slander and present-day distortions that have misinformed people about Paine's ideas. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568580630
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
06/28/1996
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
1,340,201
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.54(d)

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