will witness the 200th anniversary of the painful
death of the lower class British tradesman Thomas
Paine who coined the phrase the 'United States
work is not a propaganda-style bid to rewrite
American history; more it is an apologetic homily
penned in almost tear-jerking prose to restore
the tainted reputation of Paine, the Englishman
who had truly become America's forgotten founder.
paper, Paine's political achievements should have
been viewed by the American ruling class as legendary
when he died in June 1809. Not only was he the
founder of both the United States and the French
Republic, he was also the distinguished author
of three of the 18th century's biggest bestsellers.
spite of his lowly upbringing, Paine still managed
to create the literary cornerstone of American
democracy, Common Sense, as well as the Bible
of English radicalism, The Rights of Man.
one critical question remains unanswered about
his life. How did one of the globe's greatest
political thinkers end up spending his final years
in America, living an impoverished life, suffering
from dementia, and eventually being buried in
an unmarked grave?
is this central question which Nelson admirably
addresses which makes this work unique among the
many biographies and analysis of Paine's life
and work to date.
recipe for success is simple, yet decisive
to fully understand and appreciate the impact
of Paine the political thinker, delve deeply into
the humanity and personal life of Paine the man.
keeping this human touch as his literary anchor,
Nelson still manages to outline the challenges
which Paine overcame in shaping the Revolutionary
era and the Age of Enlightenment.
is a humbling, yet intensely inspiring critique
of Paine's dramatic path from his years as a struggling
London mechanic to his journey after fortune in
the New World; from his early pamphleteering to
his heroism as the voice of revolution on two
continents; and from his miraculous escape from
execution in Paris to his last years in America.
own works were penned with personal gusto and
a passionate belief in his principled political
thinking. The success of Nelson's work is not
just the indepth research on Paine, but that it
is written with equal gusto.
a political thinker, Paine was shunned by the
new ruling elite of America of his time; after
his death in 1809, the cheer leaders who have
heralded the glory of the American Revolution
conveniently neglected Paine's emphatic contribution.
the personal conclusions which Nelson's work leaves
the reader pondering are without Paine,
would there ever have been an American Revolution
in the first place? Without Paine, would the political
concept known as the United States of American
ever have become a living reality?
also captures the controversy and misunderstanding
which surrounded Paine right throughout his career
as a political thinker. Nelson does not seek to
dismiss Paine's contribution as so many others
work restores Paine to the global stature he deserves
as the real Englishman who shaped America.
Fundamentally, Nelson's portrait of Paine is of
a man who asserted that "we have it in our
power to begin the world over again". The
success of this specific biography is that Nelson's
human portrayal of Citizen Tom Paine is of a thinker
who is as much a man of our own time as a paragon
of the Enlightenment.
what is glaringly honest about Nelson's interpretation
of Paine, is that the author who was himself
an editor in the United States for more than two
decades is not afraid to be critical of
that nation's perceived attempts to airbrush Paine's
role out American history.
now with Nelson's electrifying account of Paine's
life and thoughts, Citizen Tom will now be given
the credit he deserves as a man who should be
remembered and honoured by free people throughout