Saturday, September 01, 2007

Excerpt of the day

From Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations by Craig Nelson

This pamphlet for the greater good would all but destroy Paine’s American reputation, and its drafting would offer a profound insight into the author’s very character. If there is any moment in his life that reveals Paine as the Enlightenment’s most adamantine evangelist, it is this. For exactly what kind of man, with dozens of friends either imprisoned or dead by guillotine or by their own hand, with his own life directly imperiled, and expecting at any moment the knock at the door and the presentation of the warrant – just what kind of human being would write a book under such conditions, and call it The Age of Reason?”

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