VOYA - Nancy EatonFive-time National Book Award nominee Meltzer does his customary skillful job in this biography of a lesser-known figure of the American Revolution. One of the first modern political writers, Tom Paine wrote numerous articles and pamphlets promoting his revolutionary ideas about democracy and freedom. Common Sense helped encourage the American colonists to make a final and complete break with England. Another pamphlet, The Rights of Man, supported the ideas behind the French Revolution. Throughout his life, Paine challenged the accepted custom of one law for the rich and another for the poor. He was among the first to call for the creation of a truly representative government, to advocate an end to the practice of slavery, and to suggest that Thomas Jefferson acquire all of the land known as the Louisiana Purchase. In addition, he envisioned a method of international cooperation that foreshadowed the creation of the United Nations. Never a financial success, Paine spent many of his later years petitioning for support from federal and state governments, and died poverty-stricken and alone. Focusing on the development of Paine's political philosophy, this is not a book for the casual reader. The complex ideas presented, however, are essential to understand the background of the American Revolution and the evolution of our political system. Index. Illus. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 9 Up-Anyone who has studied the American Revolution recognizes the name of Tom Paine, author of Common Sense. But other than that discrete bit of information, what do students know of this radical, controversial patriot? Why, for example, did he ultimately turn against George Washington? Why did he spend time in a French prison? Why did he die nearly destitute? In short, lively chapters, Meltzer answers these and many other questions as he weaves the intricate details of Paine's life into the fabric of American and European history. The author succeeds in creating a biography that is replete with the rich details of the man's life as well as conveying the exciting times in which he lived.-Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews