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Thomas Paine's Rights of Man
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A beautifully written introduction to the making, and message, of a book that was central to the foundation of the United States - the world's most powerful republic: 'Christopher Hitchens... at his characteristically incisive best.' (The Times)

About the Author

Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and visiting Professor in liberal studies at the New School in New York. He was the author of numerous books, including works on Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Orwell, Mother Theresa, Henry Kissinger and Bill and Hillary Clinton, as well as the international bestseller and National Book Award nominee, god Is Not Great.

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Thomas Paine's critique of monarchy and introduction of the concept of human rights influenced both the French and the American revolutions, argues Vanity Fair contributor and bestselling author Hitchens (God Is Not Great) in this incisive addition to the Books That Changed the World series. Paine's ideas even influenced later independence movements among the Irish, Scots and Welsh. In this lucid assessment, Hitchens notes that in addition to Common Sense's influence on Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, Paine wrote in unadorned prose that ordinary people could understand. Hitchens reads Paine's rejection of the ministrations of clergy in his dying moments as an instance of his unyielding commitment to the cause of rights and reason. But Hitchens also takes Paine to task for appealing to an idealized state of nature, a rhetorical move that, Hitchens charges, posits either "a mythical past or an unattainable future" and, Hitchens avers, "disordered the radical tradition thereafter." Hitchens writes in characteristically energetic prose, and his aversion to religion is in evidence, too. Young Paine found his mother's Anglican orthodoxy noxious, Hitchens notes: "Freethinking has good reason to be grateful to Mrs Paine." (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"'Christopher Hitchens... at his characteristically incisive best.' A. C. Grayling, The Times * 'Hitchens makes [his case for Thomas Paine's Rights of Man] with characteristic verve and style... engaging and well worth reading.' John Gray, New Statesman * 'A timely book.' Billy Bragg, Books of the Year, Guardian * 'Compendious, clear and engaged accounts... this series is a big success.' A. C. Grayling, The Times"

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