• Thomas Paine's Rights of Man

  • A Biography
  • By: Christopher Hitchens
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 3 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 23-07-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (46 ratings)

Summary

This is part of the Books That Shook series. Thomas Paine was one of the greatest political propagandists in history. The Rights of Man, first published in 1791, is the key to his reputation. Inspired by his outrage at Edmund Burke's attack on the uprising of the French people, Paine's text is a passionate defense of the rights of man. Paine argued against monarchy and outlined the elements of a successful republic, including public education, pensions, and relief of the poor and unemployed, all financed by income tax.
Since its publication, The Rights of Man has been celebrated, criticized, maligned, and suppressed. But here, commentator Christopher Hitchens, Paine's natural heir, marvels at its forethought and revels in its contentiousness. Above all, he shows how Thomas Paine's Rights of Man forms the philosophical cornerstone of the world's most powerful republic: the United States of America.
©2007 Christopher Hitchens (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic reviews

"Lucid and fast-moving....As with all Hitchens, well worth reading." ( Kirkus)
"Brilliant portrait....An attractive introduction to Paine's life and work as a whole....Hitchens remains a great writer, and a thinker of depth, range, and vigour." ( Prospect)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By James on 25-12-12

A fascinating and erudite biography

Christopher's writing is as sublime as ever. Witty and insightful. Only Hitchens could make a potentially dry biography such a "page-turner".

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Stephen on 29-04-12

Thomas was a Paine

Wow, this man was central to modern politics and I barely knew him. Christopher presents Thomas in a fair light. Showing his strengths and genius and the demanding road he travelled as very human. He was a great debater and policitcal writer. The best brains in the world could not defeat his arguments. Comparing this man to modern politicans , he was prepared to offer his life for his politics. His influence on world politics was perhaps the greatest in history. We owe him great respect. This is a highlights book, which distills Paines history in a Johhnie Walker Black Label blend. It encourages me to read Paines work and other books on this great man.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Katy on 04-03-10

Good, but not exactly what I expected.

I picked this up after hearing Thomas Paine's unwavering irreligious convictions referred to by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in their atheist literature. Unfortunately there was not as much information in this vein as I'd hoped, though the last chapter(s?) did recount his later life when his religious views came into sharper focus. Mostly this was interesting in terms of American/British history, and the history of philosophy about human rights.

As others have noted, it is occasionally difficult to tell where a quotation ends and the main text resumes; but genterally the narration is expemplary with some very nice Scottish brogue thrown in for spice.

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10 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Mimi on 06-07-09

Exciting July Fourth Listening! Wow!

Somehow I had expected this would be simply Tom Paine's writing, not a whole book about him. History, philosophy and politics are not my strengths, but I've lived long enough and traveled enough that I do care about these things. I found another audio book on the same topics, Founding Brothers, very difficult listening, although I believed it was well narrated. This book by contrast is almost suspenseful. The narrator reads with great understanding, but the book is written so as to be interesting. This author has an exciting mind!

Back in high school I didn't really get it about the deists. And who cared about the Louisiana Purchase? Paine was already trying to solve the problem of slavery, develop a plan for freed slaves. Paine even foresaw a need for a welfare system. Well, goodness! It's a most stimulating book. Educational, exciting, most worthwhile.

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13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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