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Common Sense, The Rights of Man and Other Essential Writings of Thomas Paine (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451528891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451528896
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Without...Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain."
-John Adams

About the Author

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, the son of a staymaker. He had little schooling and worked at a number of jobs, including tax collector, a position he lost for agitating for an increase in excisemen’s pay. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, he emigrated to America in 1774. In 1776 he began his American Crisis series of thirteen pamphlets, and also published the incalculably influential Common Sense, which established Paine not only as a truly revolutionary thinker, but as the American Revolution’s fiercest political theorist. In 1787 Paine returned to Europe, where he became involved in revolutionary politics. In England his books were burned by the public hangman. Escaping to France, Paine took part in drafting the French constitution and voted against the king’s execution. He was imprisoned for a year and narrowly missed execution himself. In 1802 he returned to America and lived in New York State, poor, ill and largely despised for his extremism and so-called atheism (he was in fact a deist). Thomas Paine died in 1809. His body was exhumed by William Cobbett, and the remains were taken to England for a memorial burial. Unfortunately, the remains were subsequently lost.

Customer Reviews

Excellent book with fine illustrations.
James P. Downes
Common Sense, The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine is a book that inspired our Founding Fathers to push for Independence.
Marc John Ellison
It took me three months to read this book.
psychoinhell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

130 of 134 people found the following review helpful By R. DelParto VINE VOICE on November 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In an unrelenting quest to understanding the history of the United States, one obscure name comes to mind, Thomas Paine. Paine helped establish the meaning of democracy and the "united" in United States. His two monumental works, COMMON SENSE AND RIGHTS OF MAN, provided the philosophical and rhetorical building blocks that the founding fathers, such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, et al., would emulate with the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Many take for granted the origins of freedom and democracy in the United States, and as with many school history textbooks depict, Paine merely appears in a paragraph or two, and quickly disappears to historical oblivion.

Nevertheless, when one reads COMMON SENSE AND RIGHTS OF MAN: AND OTHER ESSENTIAL WRITINGS OF THOMAS PAINE, there will be no doubt how significant his philosophical and political writings transformed the political structure of the colonies. Although this may sound somewhat romanticized, Paine's words ignited the energy for the colonists to free themselves from the tyrannical-monarchical leadership of England's King George III. With all the talk of Paine being a founding father, he may also be considered the father of revolution, American Revolution and French Revolution, and human rights. Without the inspiration from his friend Edmund Burke, author of REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE, Paine may not have been able to write the pamphlet Rights of Man. Indeed, his power of the written word translated to revolutionary action, and Jeffersonian ideology.

In clear and no nonsense language, Paine's perspective of the state of the colonies are elaborately told in COMMON SENSE.
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72 of 77 people found the following review helpful By benny on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Thomas Paine's clear and concise writings make him one of the greatest political authors of his time. Basic thoughts of freedom and democracy, that seem so common place nowadays, were brought about because of Paines "radical" ideas. His books Common Sense and The Rights of Man were written not just for the political philosopher but also for the common man. Both the aforementioned books played a big part in the American and French Revolutions.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Maria Folsom on January 21, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is what we're founded on, what America is supposed to be, and the way we should conduct our political affairs. Paine should probably be required reading for every citizen, every student, anyone wondering what freedom really means. Besides being informative, it is incisive, sarcastic, humorous, and passionate. The English is old and dated, but that just adds to its delight. I read this in short segments and then thought about each chapter. It made me proud to be an American and sad to realize how much freedom we've lost since Paine's day.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Fenton on December 10, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Paine is essential reading to anyone who wants to understand American History. However, this particular edition, presented by Signet Classics, is the most disappointing presentation of any classic I have ever seen. While "Common Sense" appears to be presented in its entirety, "The American Crisis" (aka simply "The Crisis") is not. Parts 2, 6, and 9-12 are omitted entirely, and parts 3, 4, 7 & 8 are presented with only "selections". I don't know about any other readers, but this is extremely annoying to me. It is almost as annoying as when Readers Digest decided to present an edited version of The Bible, omitting sections they felt were unimportant because they were duplicates of other sections. I certainly do not equate the writings of Thomas Paine with those of the Bible, but the principle is the same: I do not want someone omitting sections that the author, whether it is God or Thomas Paine, felt should be part of what he had to say. I am reading "The Crisis" presented in a library copy edited by Eric Foner and am looking for an edition of my own. If you want to just hit the highlights of Paine's work, then the Signet edition may be for you. If you want to read Thomas Paine as he spoke to America, Britain and the world, don't waste your money on this edition.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By T. R. Matheson on August 20, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I discovered Paine about five years ago, and just the knowledge that a man like him lived was very uplifting to me. If only American schools would teach more of Paine. A true friend of man and one who truly understood what society needs, if all men -- and especially their leaders -- thought like Thomas Paine, our world would be farther, much farther ahead -- not in mere "progress," but in true, meaningful betterment -- and would be as close to "heaven" as one could imagine.

Everyone in our world needs to read and understand Thomas Paine. This book and Age of Reason are essential reading today more than ever before.
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88 of 117 people found the following review helpful By WilliamRocket on October 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
... Thomas Paine is one of our Nation's most misunderstood Founders. 'The Rights of Man,' contrary to public misunderstanding (usually by those who have not read it in it's entirety), bears out that Paine in fact *did* believe in a Divine entity, quoted directly from the Bible throughout the Essay, and had a near-encyclopedic understanding of the New Testament. His criticisms were of organized religion and how *men* had used it to corrupt the very idea of an afterlife and the ideas of faith. The publication of "Common Sense," most forget, was one of the most important causes of the American Revolution. Often derided even in his own time, Paine reminds us that those who speak ideas that cause painful debate are at the heart of our Nation's Ideals.
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