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46 Pages Paperback – March 2, 2004

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About the Author

Scott Liell is a member of the Thomas Paine National Historical Association in Boston. He lives in Madison, Connecticut.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press (March 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762418133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762418138
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #548,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gerard D. Launay on December 12, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A real page turner...I had to read the book in one sitting.

Before I purchased "46 Pages", Thomas Jefferson represented, to me, the voice of American independence. After reading this book, I see that I am wrong. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington would never have been able to persuade the "average colonial American" to break free from England. That required a man who could talk in the language of the street corner radical, who could burst the myth of American's attachment to the crown. That required Thomas Paine. Buy this book and discovery why so.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
In this book Scott Liell examines the impact that Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" had on American sentiment and the move toward independence. Liell argues, and does so quite persuasively, that Common Sense is what finally tipped the balance in favor of those who wanted to break from Britain, and that the work was largely responsible for the enormous shift in sentiment that occurred between the Continental Congress's Olive Branch petition in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Common Sense was published in January, 1776, and met with immediate and unparalleled success. Liell's argument is that, before Common Sense, very few average people had a reason to want Independence, and that the pamphlet almost instantaneously gave them reason to want to break from Britain. Paine, he says, was bold enough to say things that even the ardent independents like John Adams were too timid to say, and that this helped turn the tide toward the ultimate decision to sever ties with the motherland.

Liell makes a good case. In all our focus on men like Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, we often overlook the impact Paine and his writing had on the revolutionary cause. This is a very short book and a quick read, but it is very much worth the effort. The work is part biography, part criticism of the pamphlet, and flows along very nicely. While it is a quick read Liell manages to make a powerful argument, one that is certainly worth looking at for anyone interested in the period.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andrew J. Graff on August 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the year 1763, at the height of the First British Empire, an American colonist's greatest pride was to be the subject of an English king. For fifteen years thereafter, the ill-conceived policies of imperial ministers strained the bonds linking colonies and parent country to breaking point. Yet, even after the bloodshed at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill, those bonds stubbornly refused to break.

By 1775, Americans were prepared to fight for their rights, and did so. But the great majority could not bring themselves to throw off the glittering mantle of the British Empire. King George III embodied the venerable heritage that was part of their identity, and few dared speak against their monarch in public--even the leaders of the Continental Congress. The enemies of America were "ministerial" enemies: a group of corrupt men in Whitehall had misled the king and stifled the complaints of his loyal American subjects. The king himself could not be a party to such injustice; if he could, everything they'd been taught to believe would be wrong. Willing satellites of the British sun for a century and a half, Americans now began to fear they were in captive orbit around a black hole. For most, it was simply too much to accept.

In the early days of 1776, Thomas Paine published "Common Sense," severing the colonists' nostalgic ties to their ancestral nation with sudden finality. That a political pamphlet, in a matter of months, could profoundly change the course of history was stunning to those who witnessed its impact at first hand. It is no less so today. In "46 Pages," Scott Liell explains how and why an Englishman accomplished what no American of the time could. He explores the critical events in Paine's background and the evolution of his radical beliefs.
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Format: Paperback
Sad to say, this history teacher had never read Thomas Paine's famed pamphlet "Common Sense" until three days ago. I came across a stand-alone printing of the book and was prepared to buy it when I found "46 Pages".

The entire text of "Common Sense" (originally just 46 pages long, thus the title) is added as an appendix at the end of the book. I read the original text first and then proceeded to the first part of the book which consists of a short and pleasant combination of a biography of Paine, a history of "Common Sense" and little snippets of what several founders thought of the pamphlet at its author.

This is a solid addition to any American history buff's collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ragnar65 on August 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
46 Pages tells the story of Thomas Paine, his experiences in England, how he came to the colonies and the circumstances that led him to write Common Sense. Paine's life in England and even in America are given only a cursory look, as the book is more about the political and societal climate of the time and how it led him to begin writing against the crown. Before Common Sense, few colonists were thinking of independence. They wanted certain issues resolved, but still wanted to remain under the rule of King George. Paine laid everything on the line in Common Sense, arguing that independence was the only answer if they were going to thrive in America. After the pamphlet was published it spread like wildfire and people began to quickly change their minds about the future. Paine had written Common Sense in a manor that anyone could understand, be they educated or uneducated. He took his case to the people that mattered; the citizens who had built the colonies from the ground up.

The book ends with Common Sense itself. I had never read it before and was amazed at the clarity and persuasiveness of Paine's arguments. If I felt that way now in 2007, imagine how the people felt in 1776.
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