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Customer Review

6 December 2012
This is a great overview of a remarkable life. In some ways it's difficult to comprehend the scale of the impact this man had on the events of his time. His contribution during the American war of independence in particular was very dramatic and immediate, while his later works Rights of Man and Age of Reason challenged much of the conventional wisdom of the day.

While Paine lived and worked through his writing his life was full of drama whether it's enlisting on privateers in his youth or barely surviving the terror of the French revolution. This biography is very good at putting the events of his life in their proper social and political context. In particular a lot of attention is rightly paid to his early years in Thetford and the social condition of those times. One period where I struggled to follow the thread though was the transition from America to France after the American war was over. I got the impression that part 3 of the book had been written at a very different time to the previous section. That's a minor quibble though compared to the major achievement that this book represents.

This is a superb biography which brings alive the human story of a man who helped to change the world he lived in.
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4.7 out of 5 stars