Tom Paine, the Greatest Exile

David Powell, Author St. Martin's Press $25 (303p) ISBN 978-0-312-80886-0
Focusing on the first 37 years of the controversial Englishman's life, before he came to Philadelphia in 1774, British journalist Powell traces the origins of Paine's radical politics. While the biography also encompasses the familiar period of Paine's career, spent fueling the American and French independence movements with his writingswhich led to his being outlawed in England and imprisoned in Francethe author devotes a major portion of his monograph to recreating Paine's backgrounda period of transition Power considers analogous to our own. He depicts the contrasts between private affluence and public squalor which deeply affected Paine's thinking. War service and years as an excise officer in London and the provinces, and his readings of Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau and Burke, further aroused his revolutionary and egalitarian inclinations and led to his emigration to the Colonies under Franklin's auspices. A year after his arrival, Paine wrote Common Sense. Illustrations not seen by PW. December 30
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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