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Common Sense [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Paine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)

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Common Sense Common Sense 4.6 out of 5 stars (100)
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"These are the times that try men's souls," begins Thomas Paine's first Crisis paper, the impassioned pamphlet that helped ignite the American Revolution. Published in Philadelphia in January of 1776, Common Sense sold 150,000 copies almost immediately. A powerful piece of propaganda, it attacked the idea of a hereditary monarchy, dismissed the chance for reconciliation with England, and outlined the economic benefits of independence while espousing equality of rights among citizens. Paine fanned a flame that was already burning, but many historians argue that his work unified dissenting voices and persuaded patriots that the American Revolution was not only necessary, but an epochal step in world history.

Review

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Common Sense will be welcomed by readers. With a lively and detailed introduction, thorough scholarly notes, and a representative selection of the contemporaneous responses it provoked, this should become the definitive new edition of Paine's classic tract." (Richard Boyd )

"The big problem with Paine is that current readers have trouble seeing why his ideas did not seem so common-sensical to eighteenth-century people. Larkin addresses this problem with supplementary texts that focus on the debate over independence in America; along with his interesting and approachable introduction, the combination makes for the best edition of Paine's Common Sense available." (Daniel Vickers )

"There are many fine editions of this indispensable American text. But this one is richer and more rewarding than the others. It invites readers to encounter Common Sense in the fullness of its historical setting. And as it does, it makes plain how utterly Tom Paine towered above all other Revolutionary writers." (Michael W. Zuckerman )

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Tom Paine's Common Sense will be a boon to teachers and students. It thoughtfully contextualizes Paine's pamphlet while highlighting the singularity of his voice. Most importantly, it will aid students in placing Common Sense in that absolutely central eighteenth-century culture war: the beginning of the unfinished argument over modern democracy." (Michael Meranze ) --Michael Meranze

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Common Sense will be welcomed by readers. With a lively and detailed introduction, thorough scholarly notes, and a representative selection of the contemporaneous responses it provoked, this should become the definitive new edition of Paine's classic tract." (Richard Boyd )

"The big problem with Paine is that current readers have trouble seeing why his ideas did not seem so common-sensical to eighteenth-century people. Larkin addresses this problem with supplementary texts that focus on the debate over independence in America; along with his interesting and approachable introduction, the combination makes for the best edition of Paine's Common Sense available." (Daniel Vickers )

"There are many fine editions of this indispensable American text. But this one is richer and more rewarding than the others. It invites readers to encounter Common Sense in the fullness of its historical setting. And as it does, it makes plain how utterly Tom Paine towered above all other Revolutionary writers." (Michael W. Zuckerman )

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Tom Paine's Common Sense will be a boon to teachers and students. It thoughtfully contextualizes Paine's pamphlet while highlighting the singularity of his voice. Most importantly, it will aid students in placing Common Sense in that absolutely central eighteenth-century culture war: the beginning of the unfinished argument over modern democracy." (Michael Meranze ) --Michael Meranze

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Common Sense will be welcomed by readers. With a lively and detailed introduction, thorough scholarly notes, and a representative selection of the contemporaneous responses it provoked, this should become the definitive new edition of Paine's classic tract." (Richard Boyd )

"The big problem with Paine is that current readers have trouble seeing why his ideas did not seem so common-sensical to eighteenth-century people. Larkin addresses this problem with supplementary texts that focus on the debate over independence in America; along with his interesting and approachable introduction, the combination makes for the best edition of Paine's Common Sense available." (Daniel Vickers )

"There are many fine editions of this indispensable American text. But this one is richer and more rewarding than the others. It invites readers to encounter Common Sense in the fullness of its historical setting. And as it does, it makes plain how utterly Tom Paine towered above all other Revolutionary writers." (Michael W. Zuckerman )

"Edward Larkin's new edition of Tom Paine's Common Sense will be a boon to teachers and students. It thoughtfully contextualizes Paine's pamphlet while highlighting the singularity of his voice. Most importantly, it will aid students in placing Common Sense in that absolutely central eighteenth-century culture war: the beginning of the unfinished argument over modern democracy." (Michael Meranze ) --Michael Meranze

Product Details

  • File Size: 119 KB
  • Print Length: 94 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1456392255
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082QU5R2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,377 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than history September 16, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read the other reviews and while I agree with them, I must add that this book is more than history. I remember reading Paine's critique of the English government being "so exceedingly complex" that when a problem developed, politicians would fight for years deciding whose fault it was. Finally, when they would try to solve the problem, everyone had a different solution. I thought I was reading an editorial from USNews. I was amazed that many problems that incited the colonies to revolt are now present in our new government. Read this as more than great history. Read it as political science, and public commentary.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The logic of Common Sense August 16, 2000
Format:Paperback
"Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices." This is just a sample of the wisdom of Thomas Paine in Common Sense. His vivid words and sound arguements make it clear why this pamphlet helped to ignite the revolution. He starts by discussing the general design of government and talking briefly about the English Constitution. The second chapter deals with how silly the whole concept of heredity succession is and how the monarchy has failed. It's reminiscent of Sir Thomas More's Utopia in that respect. Chapter three discusses America at the current time and chapter four is about America's ability to fight Britain at the time. The appendix refutes arguements in the king's speech, which reached America the day Common Sense came out. After reading this important piece of American literature I was ready to go out and fight the British. Thomas Paine's words still have that effect 224 years later.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rationale for a Revolution February 14, 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Writing a review for this book is a lot like writing a review for The Constitution. It seems as though there are not enough words to describe the majesty of the document.
Many of the founding fathers lacked the educational training that contemporary politicains have received. With that fact in mind, Common Sense is even more potent. Thomas Paine sought to make his fellow colonists join in rebelling against the King and the British. His argument is based in the relative absurdity of being ruled by a king whose power is gained only because of the status of his parents. Even the first king in succession probably only gained his power by being the most brutal ruffian in his gang of conquerers. For those who suggest that the relationship with Britain need not be changed because "it is not broke, so don't fix it", he uses a child that nurses too long from his mother as a metaphor. Paine continues his writing with other choice prose to rationalize independence.
Paine's words were a biting commentary against the King. Even today, these words maintain their potency. No America should live without reading this book which was the reasoning for our break from Britain.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We have it in our power to begin the world over again" September 6, 2003
Format:Paperback
What makes "Common Sense" so compelling, even 225 years after it was published, is Paine's impassioned defense of American independence--a passion bordering on demagoguery. Like all heated arguments, this pamphlet is meant to get the blood boiling, and its anger and righteousness (and humor) make it far more readable than most of the writings by the nation's others founders.
Paine starts with a theory of government and an examination of the moral and political deficiencies of the constitutional monarchy practiced in England. He then proceeds to eviscerate the very idea of monarchy, detailing biblical prescriptions against it (as a response to the concept of the "divine right" of kings) and exposing the very silliness of hereditary kingship as a form of government. While perhaps "the present race of kings in the world have had an honorable origin," in all probability "the first of them [was] nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners or pre-eminence in subtility obtained him the title of chief among plunderers."
He follows this theoretical background with a summary of the ongoing struggle between the colonies and Britain, followed by an outline of proposals for what form an American government might take. Paine then asserts that "a separation between the countries [will] take place at one time or another" and details the advantages--military, economic, and political--that independence will bring. In an appendix, he argues against the futility of any attempt at reconciliation with the British monarchy.
At the end is attached a strongly worded response to a pamphlet written by John Pemberton on behalf of the Quaker community and opposed to military rebellion.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars American political thought at its best August 29, 2003
Format:Paperback
The effect of Paine's monumental work Common Sense on the spirit of the American Revolution can never be measured. This work, originally a pamphlet, inspired and gave courage to the cause of independence, and presented the case for separation from Britain in such a way that it was difficult not to see his point. Paine was a visionary because he recognized that a union between Britain and America could never continue, and that reconciliation (after the conflicts in Boston and other places) would never be possible. This book was read and admired by Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and many other founding fathers, and its precepts did not go unnoticed by these great men.
Today, Paine's thinking is still relevant. His basic thesis that there is a difference between society and government still rings true today. As Paine points out, a society enriches our virtues, but government must restrain our vices. Paine's theory (at the beginning of the work) on the necessity of government, and his idea that the government is best which protects its people at the least possible cost to personal liberty, is just as interesting and inspiring today as it was 225 years ago. This pamphlet is applicable today as well as then because Paine believed that men should be good, and that this was the ultimate principal of successful government. "Of more worth is one honest man to society," he says, "and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived." The world would be a better place if we all had a little Common Sense.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A true Patriot
I've always wondered how our founding fathers felt at this period of time .Well Thomas Paine dose that in this book a short read but straight to the point. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by Patrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read
Excellent read and amazingly relevant to today. Gives a comprehensive picture of the global environment of the times and the factors affecting the timing of the revolution.
Published 13 days ago by C. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars SHOULD BE MANDATORY READING
Who wouldn't love this? Those who'd like to think of history as "something other than what it really was. Read more
Published 22 days ago by wefishallday
5.0 out of 5 stars Commen Sense
a human quality close to extinction. If one is not used to reading older writings, there will be initial difficulty, however the insights are worth the struggle.
Published 1 month ago by A. Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Paine Common Sense.... Great
Interesting document presentation. We will continue reading this one. Quick on sending each document to us was very helpful. Marion and Ava
Published 1 month ago by marion chubick
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Every American should read this.
I have become more and more interested in history as I get older and this is one of the great documents of the American Revolution. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mattsplat1975
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well-Written Classic
This is a Classic, written a long time ago and is still enjoyed today. Although this is not my absolute favorite, it is very good and clearly written. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Velvetablue
5.0 out of 5 stars Small and cheap
The book arrived in perfect condition and is exactly what I thought I was buying. Just ensure you want this particular version of this famous piece and you can't go wrong.
Published 2 months ago by Bob
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Love history and anything that makes it real. Reading this book in the language it was written does this for me.
Published 2 months ago by Geraldine M. Dominski
5.0 out of 5 stars It's just "Common Sense"!
Thomas Paine was ahead of his time! In fact, he is timeless. He would be turning in his grave if there is such a thing.
Published 2 months ago by Edwin Otero
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