Christopher Kipiniak brings an unhurried pace and deep, croaking voice to Howard Fast’s Citizen Tom Paine.
Fast’s 1943 fictionalized biography looks back at the life of the 18th-century English-American author and revolutionary. A pamphleteer, Paine was responsible for political writings like "Common Sense" and "The Rights of Man" that helped influence the thought of American revolutionaries like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin (who later helped him to emigrate). Fast paints a complex portrait of Paine, a hard-nosed, coarsely mannered loner whose idealism could never be compromised.
Kipiniak’s voice rises in inflection and speed during passages of dialogue, then slows down, for dramatic effect, in Citizen Tom Paine’s more affecting moments.
Among Howard Fast's historical fiction, Citizen Tom Paine - one of America's all-time best-sellers - occupies a special place, for it restored to a generation of readers the vision of Paine's revolutionary passion as the authentic roots of our national beginnings. Fast gives us "a vivid picture of Paine's mode of writing, idiosyncrasies, and character-generous, nobly unselfish, moody, often dirty, frequently drunken, a revolutionist by avocation" (Library Journal).