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Collected Writings: Common Sense / The Crisis / Rights of Man / The Age of Reason / Pamphlets, Articles, and Letters

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,630 ratings  ·  43 reviews
“I know not whether any man in the world,” wrote John Adams in 1805, “has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine.” The impassioned democratic voice of the Age of Revolution, Paine wrote for his mass audience with vigor, clarity, and “common sense.” This Library of America volume is the first major new edition of his work i ...more
Hardcover, 906 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Library of America (first published January 1st 1925)
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4.25  · 
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 ·  1,630 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Anthony Buckley
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, politics
I read Rights of Man in my first year as an undergraduate, and most of the others at a later date. Paine's writing both benefits and suffers from the fact that he drank huge quantities of brandy before putting quill to paper. He is scarcely a great philosopher, but an old libertarian socialist like me would be hard put not to love him. He nearly brought democracy to England a hundred or more years before it actually arrived. The great appeal of Rights of Man came from arguing (and apparently pro ...more
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up from the library because I have been wanting to read The Age of Reason. It gets 5 stars just for Paines brilliant dismantling of Christianity and the Bible. I don't see how even the most foaming at the mouth Christian could read Age of Reason and not consider the Bible at best a horribly flawed and contradictory historical document.

You'd also have to give this 5 stars for his other well known and not so well known writings in this, even though some of them are quite boring to b
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Of the writings in this volume, I read Common Sense and The Crisis long ago (long enough to have forgotten they were assigned or voluntary reads), and have yet to read The Rights of Man, or the additional ephemera. That leaves the Age of Reason for me to address here - it alone earns this collection five stars. Essentially a rational defense of Deism against institutionalized religion, it is also a brilliant critique of the hypocrisy inherent in staking any “evidence” of faith on the written wor ...more
Brett Ellingson
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: u-s-history
Read this book with an open mind and Paine just might surprise you. My perception of what the man Thomas Paine was about changed drastically (and for the better). I gained a huge respect for him; he is far too good a man to be left to the likes of Glenn Beck. I put him in a similar place as someone like Orwell: an eloquent defender of justice, dedicated to seeing the world how it is, and honest enough to defend his ideas, even when doing so was damaging to his career prospects and personal relat ...more
Jihad Lahham
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
a must read. while some of the social issues Mr. Paine talked about are fairy outdated now, the rest of his writings are a must read. the level of common sense and scientific inquiry exhibited in his writings pave a path for all free thinkers and intellectuals of all ages and places to follow.
Ellis Morning
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thomas Paine's intellect and skill at persuasive writing should be studied far and wide. It's a shame we only read excerpts of "Common Sense" in school.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
The Age of Reason: Paine is a deep and clear thinking man who is also articulate. The Age of Reason is well worth reading, whether seeking inspiration because one agrees with his position, or as a stone on which to sharpen one's own edge if not. Because Paine is so thoughtful and also such a good communicator, it makes the omissions and fallacies in his work all that much more glaring.

He declares, for instance, Christianity to be false because the Jews did not believe it. He omits the fact that
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great compilation of works of someone who had a profound influence on the American Revolution. Common Sense was perhaps the catalyst to shift public opinion in favor of independence. Some of the other minor works are expectedly more trivial in nature. A little understanding, however, of his life will show that his popularity was much diminished by the time he wrote Age of Reason. In that work, he seems out of his element in trying to critique various elements of the Bible with an obvious defic ...more
P.S. Winn
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
With the world in such turmoil, this is a great collection that will take readers back to when all started for America. It addresses what the forefathers wanted in the new world they found themselves in and is almost exactly opposite of where America finds itself in this day and age of a President who doesn't understand and won't bother to read any of the books like this one that show why America was actually great at one time.
One of my group reads was reading "Common Sense" and I found I enjoyed how Thomas Paine wrote that I continued to read his other works in this one bind up.
Common Sense ★★★
Rights of Man ★★★
The Crisis ★★★
The Age of Reason ★★★★
Letters/Articles ★★★★
Carolyn Page
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
A historical resource that will make a rebel out of you. Freedom! Rights! Equality! Liberty or Death!!!
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the most extraordinary works in political philosophy. Paine should be required reading in high school. Although his essay, "The Age of Reason", alienated Christians with its argument that the Bible is a fraudulent text, it is an argument that is difficult--if not impossible--to refute. Paine was no atheist; he was a deist and a firm believer in a Higher Authority. "The creation is the Bible of the deist," wrote Paine. "He there reads, in the hand writing of the Creator himself, the certai ...more
Jul 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, politics
I haven’t delved deeply into Thomas Paine’s writings. I mainly purchased this for The American Crisis and The Age of Reason. But I’m a fan of the publisher. Library of America puts together visually appealing, well-edited compilations. I doubt they are always the best editions, but they are consistently good. I also own three of their Willa Cather volumes and one of Mark Twain.

As far as Thomas Paine goes, he is a lesser known (and lesser liked) founding father. Among his faults are not getting
Jun 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Reading Thomas Paine has become more important in this era of nationalistic fervor, bipartisan politics, and sophistic rhetoric. Paine cuts through this. An important fact about Thomas Paine, would be that he was thrown out of his own country for being patriotic, rather than nationalistic.

This edition presents Paine's writing thoroughly. With so much of his writing, and the nature of the texts, so much in one edition sometimes seems overwhelming. But, it is good to remember that one can put the
Daniel B.
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. I had not read Paine since high school and like many, had forgotten the importance of his role in the American Revolution. His brave, dry, wit escaped me when I was younger and can be appreciated now.

This volume in my opinion, is a fine collection of Paine's work, presented beautifully in a high quality book. If you would enjoy reading a solid, logical argument,(Paine is difficult to refute) or want to read one who poked fun at the enem
Lynn Schlatter
This one gets the "did-not-finish" tag because I only read The Age of Reason. Part One is a fairly good philosophical takedown of Christianity as a religion (Paine was a deist), but Part Two, with its attempt to discredit the entire Bible bit by bit, falls flat. It's possible that when The Age of Reason was written no one had a counterargument for things like: "The gospels contradict each other, so they can't possibly be true," but nowadays this is Exegesis 101.
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every American
If you want to know the intent of our founding fathers, read what they had to say! Thomas Paine's writings are an important part of what they thought and said at the time. Government was not meant to be small, nor were social programs and obligations excluded from the Constitution. The proper care of the elderly and orphans were specifically talked about in Paine's works. So were payments to those who were not land owners and a social security like program.
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Very long, 800 + pages, and admittedly dry at times, but still powerful and important. Highly recommended for young people, especially those leaning towards socialism or communism. The Age of Reason had a profound effect on my life and my views of religion and the afterlife. The 18th c. enlightenment movement always has and continues to have a profound effect on my life.
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely not for the faint of heart. Paine approaches polemic as a blood-sport. The result is a graceful savagery that leaves all opponents maimed or destroyed. Not one of his contemporaries could have looked forward to a fusillade from this word-fighter. As a spectator, I feel all the intense emotions that would accompany a ring-side seat at the Kumite.
Reid Luzzader
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This Library of America edition contains all of the writings of Thomas Paine - the United States' most politically radical Founder - that a non-scholar would likely want. Highly recommended for anyone who wants a better understanding of revolutionary-era thought or history.
Phil Smith
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you are an American, you need to read this critical work. If you are not an American, you need to read this critical work. One of the finest pieces of political prose ever conceived is captured by Paine in less than 100 pages.
Jun 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Washington's sword was nothing without Paine's pen. Paine was a true Apostle of Freedom. He spent his whole life fighting for freedom and against tyranny. This is a great collection of his writings.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Some good, some mediocre, some unexpected philosophy
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
for historical american figures, Thomas Paine (and his work) is in the top 3 of all time- next to John Wesley Powell and a third that is yet to be determined
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
This is the first source that made me think I wanted to study early American history.
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Common Sense is a great place to start.
Chris Newell
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely phenomenal. Common Sense, Rights of Man (Book I, particularly), and Age of Reason are especially must-reads for any lover of independent thought.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
The antidote for all those who think America was founded exclusively by Christians. This should be required reading in all U.S. schools.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just reread almost all of Paine. Fantastic.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Articles and Letters...brilliant!
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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