Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
an eye-openeer - remarkable stuff
on 15 February 2015
I downloaded this book out of curiosity, but I'm glad I did: it was an eye-opener. It was a vigorous response to Edmond Burke's attack on the French revolution.
Paine tears apart monarchies and traditional social institutions. His arguments are cogent. Selling around a million copies it had a sensational impact: Paine was chased out of Britain. England, Paine says, missed an opportunity at the restoration of the monarchy in 1688. He is particularly critical of our lack of a constitution, which he says plays into the hands of traditional hierarchies.
Interestingly, Paine says little about women. Also, his commitment to individual freedom and moral equality may lean towards utopianism. That said, he influenced both the French and American revolutions where his values found important practical outcomes.
One feels that a voice as clear as Paine's might be welcome today, not least because our politicians are currently in very low public esteem. You don't have to sympathise with Paine's ideas to get something out of this book: in fact the opposite may be the case.