Books: Mankind's Friend

TOM PAINE, FRIEND OF MANKIND—Hesketh Pearson—Harper ($3).

When 37-year-old Tom Paine landed in America in November 1774 having failed in England as staymaker, sailor, schoolmaster, excise officer, husband, no man could have predicted the extent of the fame or the abuse that awaited him. Ranked by his contemporaries with Washington and Jefferson, he lived to see popular opinion of himself summed up by his onetime enemy, Journalist William Cobbett: "Men will learn to express all that is base, malignant, treacherous, unnatural, and blasphemous by one single monosyllable—Paine." Mothers threatened their young, "If you're...

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