William's Reviews > Thomas Paine's Rights of Man: A Biography

Thomas Paine's Rights of Man by Christopher Hitchens
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May 08, 11

bookshelves: literary-criticism, uk, 21-ce

This is a good introduction to Thomas Paine (1737-1809) and his works. It's main strength is the explication of the war of criticism waged between Paine and his conservative British (Tory) rival, Edmund Burke. Burke was a Monarchist who while possessing sympathy for the American Revolution was appalled by the French one. He is the perfect foil against which to expatiate upon Paine's modern sense of the common man's inalienable rights. Paine's Common Sense and Age of Reason are also summarized and their literary-historical status delineated. Paine's overview of biblical inconsistencies in the latter work must have been especially fun for Hitchens--that staunch atheist--to discuss at length. Highly recommended.
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