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46 Pages by Scott Liell
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46 Pages

by Scott Liell

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I first read Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”, the “46 Pages” referred to in the title of Scott Liell’s book, a few years ago and I could not understand why every student in the United States is not required to read it. Could it be that the book is considered to be as dangerous to today’s government as it was to King George’s in 1776? Liell examines the history of the US Revolution’s most influential pamphlet and its author. At only about three time the length of its topic the book is not a heavy, detailed, scholarly work. Instead it is a very informative and entertaining introduction to one of the world’s most liberal writers and his best known work.

Liell starts with Paine’s early life in England, how he gained experience as a writer, how he came to know Ben Franklin, and how he came to the Colonies. Paine is shown as a regular guy, thankfully Liell avoids the impulse that many biographers succumb to, to paint their subjects as all around supermen. When “Common Sense” was published and its logic gripped the country Paine really was something of a superman, donating his profit to the cause, answering every challenge to his ideas that was published, and joining the Continental Army as an enlisted man when his growing fame could have won him an appointment as an officer.

The real hero of the book is the pamphlet, “Common Sense”. Before reading it George Washington fought against the British Parliament's unjust laws but was loyal to the King. After reading Paine’s pamphlet Washington was devoted to independence. In an age when type was set and presses were powered by hand, when news spread on horseback, “Common Sense” swept across the 13 colonies changing loyal British subjects who disagreed with Parliament into revolutionaries declaring their independence.

After the United States won independence Paine was recognized as one of the principal catalysts for American independence. He traveled and in France he wrote more about “The Rights of Man” and the wealthy colonials who now held power, who had once celebrated “Common Sense” shunned his liberalism. Liell’s book ends with Paine’s death and looks at the way the country he helped found rejected his mortal remains as completely as it did his politics. ( )
  TLCrawford | Aug 14, 2013 |
An interesting look into the writing of "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine: how the author's upbringing and the colonial political climate helped influence its writing, its reception both in the colonies and abroad, and its long-lasting effect on America's founding. Readers will learn how it was almost luck that the pamphlet was heralded, as many others before Paine ventured forth similar ideas but were resoundly villified. What was it about Paine and his 46 pages that hit a chord with the American colonial people? Liell does a thorough job of finding out.

This edition includes the full text of "Common Sense" in the appendix -- a fortunate choice for readers who have been, by the end of Liell's text, whipped into a whole new appreciation for the work. ( )
  StoutHearted | Apr 30, 2009 |
This book is an interesting look at Thomas Paine and one of the most important documents of Revolutionary America, Common Sense. It includes the full text of Common Sense at the end. Recommended! ( )
  srfbluemama | Jul 27, 2008 |
One of my favorite peices of writing ever - Common Sense by Thomas Paine - gets a great, detailed treatment in this book. I love it! ( )
  dallasblue | Dec 31, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0762418133, Paperback)

Thomas Paine, a native of Thetford, England, arrived in America's colonies with little in the way of money, reputation, or prospects, though he did have a letter of recommendation in his pocket from Benjamin Franklin. Paine also had a passion for liberty in all its forms, and an abiding hatred of tyranny. His forceful, direct expression of those principles found voice in a pamphlet he wrote entitled Common Sense, which proved to be the most influential political work of the time. Ultimately, Paine's treatise provided inspiration to the second Continental Congress for the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. 46 Pages is a dramatic look at a pivotal moment in our country's formation, a scholar's meticulous recreation of the turbulent years leading up to the Revolutionary War, retold with excitement and new insight.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:07 -0400)

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