Since its publication, The Rights of Man has been celebrated, criticized, maligned, and suppressed. But here, commentator Christopher Hitchens, Paine's natural heir, marvels at its forethought and revels in its contentiousness. Above all, he shows how Thomas Paine's Rights of Man forms the philosophical cornerstone of the world's most powerful republic: the United States of America.
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"Lucid and fast-moving....As with all Hitchens, well worth reading." (Kirkus)
"Brilliant portrait....An attractive introduction to Paine's life and work as a whole....Hitchens remains a great writer, and a thinker of depth, range, and vigour." (Prospect)
I get to bottle feed baby raccoons, throw mice at a coyote, and muck out the bear house at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care! I love my new town!
Somehow I had expected this would be simply Tom Paine's writing, not a whole book about him. History, philosophy and politics are not my strengths, but I've lived long enough and traveled enough that I do care about these things. I found another audio book on the same topics, Founding Brothers, very difficult listening, although I believed it was well narrated. This book by contrast is almost suspenseful. The narrator reads with great understanding, but the book is written so as to be interesting. This author has an exciting mind!
Back in high school I didn't really get it about the deists. And who cared about the Louisiana Purchase? Paine was already trying to solve the problem of slavery, develop a plan for freed slaves. Paine even foresaw a need for a welfare system. Well, goodness! It's a most stimulating book. Educational, exciting, most worthwhile.
I picked this up after hearing Thomas Paine's unwavering irreligious convictions referred to by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in their atheist literature. Unfortunately there was not as much information in this vein as I'd hoped, though the last chapter(s?) did recount his later life when his religious views came into sharper focus. Mostly this was interesting in terms of American/British history, and the history of philosophy about human rights.
As others have noted, it is occasionally difficult to tell where a quotation ends and the main text resumes; but genterally the narration is expemplary with some very nice Scottish brogue thrown in for spice.
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Paine was a genius in his own time and his story his truly a remarkable one. His ideas and philosophies were spot on and overall, he's easily my favorite "founding father". With that said, though, this audio book is dull and I had a tough time trying to keep focus to listen to it.
If you want the freedom of "reading" (listening) while, say, driving.
Christopher Hitchen's lucid writing style.
He was clearly prepared and made the material audibly digestible.
Yes, and it's rather short so this may be a distinct possibility for many.
This books ends up talking about Edmund Burke more it does about the Thomas Paine. It does not quote from The Rights of Man once.
It only covers Paine's life in the US during the revolution, and during the revolution in France. It cannot be considered a biography because it does not tell of his beginnings—something I would have enjoyed knowing.
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Should be read
The premise is the story of liberty and the development of democracy in these United States.
SImon Vance was good enough.
No entirely possible. Nor should it be.
"A fascinating and erudite biography"
Christopher's writing is as sublime as ever. Witty and insightful. Only Hitchens could make a potentially dry biography such a "page-turner".
"Thomas was a Paine"
Wow, this man was central to modern politics and I barely knew him. Christopher presents Thomas in a fair light. Showing his strengths and genius and the demanding road he travelled as very human. He was a great debater and policitcal writer. The best brains in the world could not defeat his arguments. Comparing this man to modern politicans , he was prepared to offer his life for his politics. His influence on world politics was perhaps the greatest in history. We owe him great respect. This is a highlights book, which distills Paines history in a Johhnie Walker Black Label blend. It encourages me to read Paines work and other books on this great man.
"History rather than philosophy"
I'm interested in the rights of man (and woman) but I really can't get into history. I guess it is interesting that Thomas Paine was the son of a corset maker and at various times in his life also earnt his crust in this profession. Is it? That is my problem with history. I don't like irrelevant facts. It is a little bit interesting to me that Paine was willing to use the bible for persuasive commonalities in his rhetoric and then published a critique of the bible that pretty much argued against its use as a source of evidence in arguments. Sort of mess we all get into, hahaha! I'm trying to say this book is simply not for me, but I feel that this is because of me, not the book. I'd be dead bored by a book on football too, but it might be a good book.
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