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Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography (Books That Changed the World) Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
  • ASIN: B001LF2HBI
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on February 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There couldn't have been a better matchup for a volume in a series called Books that Changed the World than Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Paine. (None of the other pairs so far announced is nearly as good, and, though I have not read it, Karen Armstrong to write about the Bible strikes me as ill-chosen.)

Two Englishmen famous for critical thinking, harking back to the ancient republican traditions of Levellers and Roundheads, drawn to America, sharp of tongue. It's a match made in, well, not heaven, but a good place.

Although subtitled "A Biography," it is more a review of Paine's place, and many innovations, in political thought. The biography is exciting enough. Paine, unlike his adversary Burke, was a freedom fighter, not just a talker; and (like Orwell, who gets the barest mention from Hitchens) one who learned firsthand that revolutions are not for sissies, and that revolutionary rhetoric is subject to power politics no less than the corruptions of the ancien regime.

Americans know Paine as author of "Common Sense," though we don't read it, and we are told about it as if it were not much more than a very effective recruiting speech, and Paine was merely a less sinister version of George Creel. He was, as Hitchens demonstrates, much more.

However, Hitchens as an Englishman (born) and antimonarchist is more interested in "The Rights of Man." "The great achievement of Paine," he says, "was to have introduced the discussion of human rights, and of their concomitant in democracy, to a large and often newly literate popular audience."

And to have stuck by his guns. Paine's ideas evolved through experience, but he never went off the rails the way so many of the American revolutionaries did.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again all anybody can say about this man's writing is excellent.
Thomas Paine hasn't yet received to the true recognition of his impacted on the rights of Man.
Hitchens goes a little way to rectify this puzzling issue.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An amazingly well-written book by one of the modern day masters of writing. I truly enjoyed this book and will be reading many more by Christopher Hitchens.
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Format: Paperback
Beautifully written by Christopher Hitchens, this small book incisively reviews Paine's life and accomplishments, often citing his adversarial relation with E. Burke.
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