Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more



on 2 June 2015
Over 200 years old, but perhaps more pressingly relevant today than they have ever been - from the Rights of Man - Government's sole purpose is safeguarding the individual and his/her inherent, inalienable rights; each societal institution that does not benefit the nation is illegitimate! Where do we begin? From Age of Reason -"I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavouring to make our fellow-creatures happy." and "All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." Following a trajectory from Hume and Locke, and, a product of their revolutionary incubator, Paine's ideas are just as achingly pertinent to today's current political thinking and challenge to fundamentalist ideologies.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 December 2016
Suprisingly readable for something nearly 250 years old.

It gives a snapshot insight into early thoughts on why America should seek independance from Britian. Thomas Paine looks at things from a theological, policitcal and practical point of view.

The chapters (i.e. the original pamphlet) read better than the introduction and appendix.

The minutae of how he thought the government should be constructed was a little hard to follow (wikipedia has and excellent diagram).

Well worth a read if you're interesting in American politics or early modern American history.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 November 2015
Having not read it fully, i can tell you only about the first few pages and/or the introduction.I came to Thomas Paine via Christopher Hitchens.
Like Paine, Hitchens does not dumb down his words and it's best either to have a good dictionary handy or hop onto http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/
Words like 'usurpation' 'injudicious' and 'extirpating' just in the introduction.Do not let this put you off.Remember it was composed/published in 1775–76 and it is worth the learning curve.
It is a very direct,compassionate questioning of the legitimacy of kings and authority and is worth anyone's time who wants to understand freedom,democracy and american or english history.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 December 2010
Tom Paine is a stirring and inspiring writer, as befits an unabashed apologist. On the plus side this results in vigourous writing that makes for very enjoyable (and frequently very funny) reading, but on the negative side it does result in propagandist oversimplification. An Englishman who became a key figure in the emancipation of the US from British rule, this (Signet) edition collects his most famous writings together in a succinct and cheap package.

Paine is amongst the most 'eminently quotable' authors I've ever read. Whether or not one agrees with all he has to say, he certainly deserves admiration for his clarity, straightforwardness, and abundantly effusive energy. Even now, over 200 years later, much of his writing is usefully polemic and challenging, at every level from the personal to the globally geo-political. Remarkable writings by a remarkable man, and (at least when I purchased the Signet Classic edition) yours for a remarkably small amount!

QUOTES - These are Paine's words, not mine, and therefore don't necessarily reflect my views, I'm just quoting them because they're always interesting, often controversial, and sometimes very funny:

On society and government: "Society in every state is a blessing, but government in it's best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one".

On monarchy (specifically the British monarchy of the time, but, as the second quote makes clear, a reflection of his general view): "There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy". And, I love this one: "monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government."

General 'self-help' style remarks, made re US independence, but applicable, I reckon, to daily mundane concerns: "Youth is the seed time of good habits." And surely many of us can relate to the woes of the "man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity"? "A good opinion of ourselves is exceedingly necessary in private life ... [&] absolutely necessary in public life".

On war (particularly and specifically re. unprovoked aggression): "To see the bounties of Heaven destroyed, the beautiful face of nature laid waste, and the choicest works of creation and art tumbled into ruin, would fetch a curse from the soul of piety itself." And, "he who is the author of a war, let's loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death."

Interestingly, some of the things he says regarding throwing off the shackles off British colonial rule have a strangely disturbing resonance with America's current position of global pre-eminence: In a letter to general Howe (re. accusations of British forgery): "It is dangerous to make men familiar with a crime which they may afterwards practise to much greater advantage against those who first taught them." Indeed, some might say modern American foreign policy and it's global geopolitical results bear this idea out! And this, written about Britain at the time - "With an unsparing hand & an insatiable mind... in a frenzy of avarice & ambition, the east & the west are doomed to tributary bondage, you rapidly earned destruction as the wages of a nation..." - might also be applied to the contemporary US situation.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 May 2014
Paine was converted to the ardent patriot of the American Revolution from his natural birth status as an Englishman, and when the conversion happened, it was verbally total. He probably would have been difficult to like as an individual, and certainly a nuisance, if not a criminal to many, but no one could ever say two things of him: he was dull and disliked using flowery sentence construction.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 November 2013
Thomas Paine's words are as eloquent and relevant today as they were in the eighteenth century. Thanks to him, and others like him, Americans framed a society for themselves that, in principle, deemed that all would be equal. We in Britain have yet to show such courage, and continue to maintain an unelected hereditary monarchy that deems us all to be subjects and not citizens of our own country. Well worth reading for anyone interested in developing a fairer, more just society.
11 Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 September 2016
A fascinating insight into thinking prior to the American war of independence. Paine makes damning observations about monarchy and empires which we'd do well to heed today.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 March 2014
I have only touched on the tip of this work, but already find Thomas Paine to be a more interesting character than I had ever thought from the meagre bits in history books. How does a man from such inauspicious beginnings progress as he did. I guess through being a man who never gave up trying, never gave up dreaming.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 November 2013
Considering that Paine produced his Age Of Reason (part1) without the aid of a bible, the end result is somewhat miraculous (see what I did there?).
It's an amazing book - I'm just reviewing that book really - well thought out and pretty much the brought the end of all organised, or "revealed" religion! Well, obviously, that didn't quite happen...shame.

It would have been interesting to read of Paine's views if he had been born after Darwin...
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 October 2016
This covers a period of history I was little aware of, being European. Paine is a great philosopher.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)