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Common Sense and Other Writings

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  9,190 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Introduction and Notes by Joyce Appleby

Though he didn't emigrate from England to the colonies until 1774, just a few months before the Revolutionary War began, Thomas Paine had an enormous impact on that war & the new nation that emerged from it. Common Sense, the instantly popular pamphlet he published in January 1776, argued that the goal of the struggle against the
Paperback, 394 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Barnes & Noble Classics (first published 1776)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 13, 2010 Mike rated it did not like it
The only thing I can say about this book is that at the time, it was probably quite remarkable. It's a relic of the past, I suppose. Now, it just sounds like someone railing against the necessity of slavery - that argument has long since been fought and won.
Jul 26, 2011 Brian rated it really liked it
I've only read the first three papers (African Slavery in America, Common Sense and The American Crises Papers 1,10 & 13) so far and even 200+ years later it is stirring; one can only imagine how reading (or having it read to you in a public) these inflammatory writings at the time could incite the imagination of a new world and galvanize the will of our fledging patriots.

Although Paine and his famous rhetoric were taught, I don't recall these as mandatory reading during my HS days (over 20
Feb 10, 2008 Travis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One-line synopsis from the Age of Reason: The more unnatural anything is, the more is it capable of becoming the object of dismal admiration.

Paine was, of course, denouncing those savage Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Languages change and people (copyeditors, for example) are fallible; therefore, the immutable Word of God cannot be found in any book. Besides, the Torah, Bible, and Koran are tawdry books; they are a history of only the grossest vices and a collection of th
Nov 05, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: school, classics
2.5 stars

Read (some) for my Advanced Placement European History class.
Tim Floyd
Jun 06, 2012 Tim Floyd rated it liked it
This book was a collection of writings by Thomas Paine (an early supporter of the American quest for independence), I loved the background story to Paine's experience & writings. The portion of the book I'm choosing to focus this review on is his writing called Common Sense, a paper on why Paine thinks America should be free from the grips of England. I found his arguments both persuasive and uncomfortable at times. I can definitely see why it wasn't very well received by the Crown. There ...more
Tori Samar
Although Thomas Paine has a penchant for propaganda, I was still intrigued to read the major works of this man, whom John Adams considered the one who started the American Revolution. Our country's history aside, however, I found the most fascinating section of the entire book to be 'The Age of Reason', Paine's scathing attack against Christianity and other "false religions." It is amazing that a man who so sincerely wanted to honor His Creator was so sincerely wrong about His knowledge of that ...more
Jul 06, 2014 David rated it really liked it
A difficult book to read. And not all of the ideas got into my head. For example, the endnotes mentions Paine's hatred of George Washington, yet I couldn't encounter that in the book. I could only encounter his dislike of John Adams.

That said, some of the ideas in the book are intriguing. For example, how a constitution was a new instrument; Kingdoms never had such a thing-all governance was hereditary. And the constitution was what limited executive power. Additionally I had never thought of t
Aug 18, 2007 Kevin rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone Interested in Common Sense
Shelves: historical
Thomas Paine's writings are as prevalent today as they were back in the 18th century. To understand Thomas Paine, the Civil Rights movement, and equal liberties, one understands the Articles of Confederation, Constitution, The Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Independence.

Any Englishman who berates America's struggle has not had the piece of mind to understand Thomas Paine or Colonial America. An American who says "who cares about the bill of rights," has not had the piece of mind to unders
Mar 03, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of Paine's works, which are probably the best American-Revolution era political philosophy I've ever read, or at least aligns with my own thoughts more than any other "founding father". Well, it does until late in his life, when he apparently decides to deride John Adams in every article he writes. (when it comes to John Adams lovers, it's me, David McCullough, and Tom Hanks, and that's it. At least, it seems like that sometimes.) But other than that, Paine hits an important ...more
Mar 05, 2010 Misha marked it as to-read
I, of course, read Common Sense once upon a time in high school, but can't remember much about it other than the mystique that surrounds Paine's most famous work. I'm thinking about starting a new blog called "Education of a Political Journalist" in which I read and explore American political writings and thought starting with the Enlightenment and working my way to the present day and try to put some current political discussions into context. There's a lot of talk about the Constitution and ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook
Still relevant enough in today's time. Should be required reading for all the hacks that want to be voted into house and senate...and president for that matter. The american govt is becoming exactly what we broke away from in 1776. Common sense read in today's context illustrates that. The others are informative and enlightening. I enjoy how Paine matter of factly explains religion to us in rights of man. Paine's stance on slavery abolition nearly 100 years ahead of the civil war. Also some good ...more
Jun 11, 2011 Pat rated it it was ok
This collection of Thomas Paine writings is too complete. Some of the included texts, such as Common Sense, are good reads in that they are still relevant to the modern reader. They can tell us where we have been and can make us question our modern view of the proper role of government. If those had been the only texts included, this would have been a fine collection. Unfortunately, the texts that ramble about how much people should be taxed were dull and meaningless in the twenty-first century, ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Ángel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A finales del siglo XVIII apareció un libro, cuyo autor firmaba como "Un inglés", que se convirtió en un éxito de ventas en Norteamérica: en tres meses vendió 120.000 ejemplares; en un año, medio millón (en más de veinticuatro ediciones).

"Ningún libro posterior ha tenido tal éxito en los Estados Unidos. Hablamos del panfleto –libro polémico y breve– Common Sense, de Thomas Paine, publicado en 1776 y considerado uno de los principales propiciadores del movimiento independentista americano. (sigu
Dr. Pete Meyers
Apr 18, 2012 Dr. Pete Meyers rated it really liked it
Highly recommended to anyone who wants a diverse view of the American Revolution and the following years. This was a fascinating follow up to McCullough's Adams biography, especially since Paine and Adams came to be enemies. This includes "Agrarian Justice" and "Age of Reason", one of which essentially proposed the Social Security system, and the other which harshly denounces organized religion. Paine's works really fly in the face of any side claiming that the Founders as a whole had a single ...more
Jun 23, 2009 Spencer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the things in "Common Sense" are not directly related to our own lives, however the gold of Paine's writing today is how well he formulates his argument.

If you want to learn how to improve your writing skills, then I highly recommend pick up Thomas Paine and thumbing through.

With all that said, from a historical point of view, "Common Sense" is, understandably, very valuable. It's also pretty interesting, so check it out. It's not very long, about 52 pages, and "The Rights of Man" is s
Aug 19, 2009 Jeremy rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I see why now the pamphlet was called Common Sense. The content makes so much sense; however, I do not think that is the best or most important writing in this version. That designation rests with The Rights of Man. I definitely feel that was Paine was getting across there is definitely relevant in today's political climate. I was also impressed with Agrarian Justice, for the time period, it was a revolutionary argument for modern day social security. I'm ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
I really liked reading this book. Payne
Expressed very power and wise thoughts that sparked and embraced the believes of those
Who fought to give us the liberties that we enjoy today. This should be required reading in our High Schools today however that is very unlikely because those who run our government and make these Decisions do not possess or believe in the principles of of Common Sense.

D.W. McAliley
May 06, 2015 D.W. McAliley rated it it was amazing
I picked this volume up at B&N a few years back for less than $10. It is an essential for all true patriots and students of history. The principles laid out in Paine's essays and pamphlets are unwavering and underpin the foundations of this nation. If we are to restore the power and prominence of America, here at home and abroad, we must first begin by restoring its principles in our own hearts and minds.
Sean Mcdonald
May 21, 2013 Sean Mcdonald rated it really liked it
So they don't exactly tell you in school that Paine wrote a pamphlet denouncing Christianity and that he managed to upset a lot of people with his directness against religion (Paine was a Deist). He wrote a lot after the Revolutionary War, including some letters against the Federalist faction during John Adams presidency, but all we ever hear is that he wrote Common Sense before US history decided that he faded away.
Dec 09, 2015 Courtney rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 13, 2015 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you do nothing else read the Age of Reason. The most perfectly reasoned argument for banishing religions from the universe and perhaps replacing it with pure deism. What we see is what we get from a God who lays it all out in front of us to see. The bible and all other written words become fraud pure and simple. It is a stunning revelation for all.
Matt Maples
Mar 28, 2011 Matt Maples rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Paine is one of the most significant of the Founding Fathers for the United States of America. In fact, he is the one who coined the phrase "The United States of America." He is often paired alongside George Washington as the two most significant individuals in the American Revolution. Washington provided the action and Paine provided the reasoning.
Aug 02, 2012 Rod rated it liked it
I certainly expanded my vocabulary with his writings! I picked it up intending to read "common Sense" but continued on. This is really 5 books and while one may not agree with his views, his logic is certainly worth discussion. "Age of reason" I found particularly compelling. The overall theme I believe is that the individual has rights that should not be subverted by governments or religion.
Jun 12, 2013 Averill rated it really liked it
I'd already read "Common Sense" a few years back and enjoyed it. I grabbed this lil book for his other works, and a quick reread. And, of them all "The Age of Reason" has proven itself to be a flaming beacon of intelligence and reason.
Sue J
Jun 14, 2016 Sue J rated it really liked it
This is a book that every American should read. It is not an easy read. The ideas must be pondered and assimilated. It has some provocative ideas about monarchies and the formation of our new country. Very interesting.
Apr 13, 2010 Kellie rated it liked it
I finished reading Common Sense and found it very interesting and something I had to read a few times to get it. There are many things he writes about that apply to today. It is also a good study of a well thought out and defended idea
Jan 13, 2013 Don rated it it was amazing
I don't think I had ever read it through before ... Really a brilliant guy who writes so well. Obvious, I know, but it was fun to just sit down and read, along with The Crisis, Rights of Man, Age of Reason, etc.
Apr 02, 2009 josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i only read common sense - not the other essays therein. seeing as this was one of the premier texts prior to the revolution - it is something that every American should have to read. many good points remain relevant to today's environment.
Kevin Kizer
After reading this, I have a strong suspicion that Paine would have some pretty harsh words for those today who are trying to champion their religious ideology on the rest of us.
Eric Wurm
Aug 01, 2013 Eric Wurm rated it it was amazing
The greatest of our founding fathers, Thomas Paine despised inequality, injustice, and illogical thinking. If you share these traits, then the writings of Paine are certainly for you.
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Review: 1 8 Jan 09, 2010 06:04PM  
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Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corset maker by trade, a journalist ...more
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“Everything that is right or reasonable pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, 'tis time to part.” 9 likes
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