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Thomas Paine: Crusader for Liberty: How One…

Thomas Paine: Crusader for Liberty: How One Man's Ideas Helped Form a New…

by Albert Marrin

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Using primary source materials, an extensive notes section, and images, this biography traces Paine’s path from his early years to his emergence as one of the most significant political voices of the eighteenth century.
  ccsdss | Mar 14, 2016 |
As much a history of ideas as a biography, and both first-rate. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Richie’s Picks: THOMAS PAINE: CRUSADER FOR LIBERTY by Albert Marrin, Knopf, November 2014, 176p., ISBN: 978-0-385-38605-0

“And the noise outside was the ringing of revolution”
-- Phil Ochs

“That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain is..contrary to the light of nature [and] to every principle of Justice and Humanity…
“Too many nations enslaved prisoners they took in war. But to go to nations with whom there is no war, who have no way provoked...purely to catch inoffensive people, like beasts, for slaves, is [the] height of outrage…[So] many evils [attend] the practice, as selling husbands away from wives, children from parents, and from each other, in violation of sacred and natural ties…
“If the slavery of the parents be unjust, much more is their children’s…[since] the children are born free...Certainly, one may, with as much reason and decency, plead for murder, robbery, lewdness and barbarity, as for this practice.”
-- Thomas Paine, as quoted by the author in THOMAS PAINE: CRUSADER FOR LIBERTY

THOMAS PAINE: CRUSADER FOR LIBERTY is a mind-blowing read. Mr. Paine was an exceptionally complex character. Thanks to his game-changing writings, both prior to and during the American Revolution, he is one of the most important men behind the successful revolt of the American colonies and the subsequent formation of the United State of America. Reading his passionate anti-slavery quote, one could argue that he had his head on a lot straighter than some of the more famous Founding Fathers.

Paine’s best-known writing is a pamphlet that changed the world that was titled Common Sense.

“The appearance of Common Sense marked a turning point in two ways. Though he had not realized it when he began writing, the pamphlet ended Paine’s voyage of self-discovery. For it gave him a mission he could never abandon. ‘I know but one kind of life I am fit for,’ he wrote, ‘and that is a thinking one, and, of course, a writing one.’ Paine became an author with a mission, an unswerving champion of liberty for all people. Above all, he got people to think. As he put it, ‘I am a Farmer of thoughts.’
“Common Sense changed political writing, too. Until its appearance, authors aimed at influencing only the educated elite. Books had such titles as The Rights of the English Colonies and The Genuine Principles of the English Constitution. Authors argued calmly, politely, sprinkling their pages with Latin quotations from learned authorities. Paine did not wish to write in this way, nor could he. 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.”

But his writings subsequent to the American Revolution left him as a man both shunned and abhorred by friends and countrymen, as well as so many in Britain and France. These writings include THE RIGHTS OF MAN (relating, in large part, to the French Revolution) and THE AGE OF REASON (in which he forcefully attacks organized religion).

The most heady portion of this biography is the war of words and philosophies between Paine and his former friend, British Parliament member Edmund Burke, who wrote REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE. I’ve many times seen Burke quoted in historic and legal texts but, as with Paine, never knew much about him until now. The enduring significance of Burke’s and Paine’s conflicting philosophies and writings, which is explained by Albert Marrin, makes this thought-provoking book well-suited and exceptionally valuable for middle school and high school American history students.

“‘These are the times that try men’s souls.’”
-- from THE AMERICAN CRISIS by Thomas Paine

Marrin sprinkles into this mix so many interesting details. For instance, readers will come away knowing the genesis of the political terms “the left” and “the right” and where the phrase “reading them the riot act” comes from. They will certainly gain a better perspective of the Founding Fathers.

Above all, young people will learn about the complicated life of and this important and very human Farmer of thoughts.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
http://slisweb.sjsu.edu/people/faculty/partingtonr/partingtonr.php ( )
  richiespicks | Aug 8, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375866744, Hardcover)

From National Book Award finalist Albert Marrin comes a compelling look at the life and impact of Thomas Paine and the profound power of ideas.

Uneducated as a boy, Thomas Paine grew up to become one of the most influential writers of the 18th century. He brought the world Common Sense, Rights of Man, and The Age of Reason; simply written, verbal battles against political, civil, and religious ignorance.

Dubbed 'The Father of the American Revolution', Paine began his written reign by fervently proposing the idea of American independence from Great Britain, where he lived before emigrating to the United States in his thirties. As one historical event led to another, Paine continued to divulge his ideas to the public, risking his reputation and even his life. Award-winning author Albert Marrin illustrates the hardships and significance of a man's beliefs and its affects on our nation in a way that all ages can comprehend.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:33 -0400)

A portrait of the influential intellectual behind such books as "The Age of Reason" discusses his limited formal education, fervent support of American independence, and life-risking advocacy of history-shaping ideas.

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