Monday, June 8, 2009

Who Was Thomas Paine?

Cover story from the BBC magazine:

It's 200 years since the British-born "father of the American revolution" died. His words also helped shape modern Britain and France and yet few people know much about him at all.

Thomas Paine statue in Thetford

"Possibly the most influential writer in modern human history" - that's the billing Thomas Paine got from one of his biographers.

Paine was an international bestseller long before the days of Dan Brown or Jackie Collins and is the only Brit to have been quoted in Barack Obama's inauguration speech earlier this year. . . .

There are statues of him in Paris and New Jersey and a monument to him in New York . . . .

Yet no high-level commemorations of his death have been planned. His writings rarely appear . . . . And ask a man or woman in the average . . . street who he is, and they are likely to reply "Er…"

Just who was Thomas Paine?

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