Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Daily Thomas Paine: A Year of Common Sense Quotes for a Nonsensical Age (Edited by Edward G. Gray)

Thomas Paine, one of America’s political philosophers whose prose helped shape the spirit of the movement of American colonies towards independence from Britain, had no shortage of thoughts on government, religion, and power. His 1776 pamphlet, Common Sense, is oftem cited as one of the inspirations that drove the independence movement. Edward G. Gray, a historian and professor, has compiled many of Paine’s quotes on politics, power, wealth, and religion and summarized them in The Daily Thomas Paine: A Year of Common Sense Quotes for a Nonsensical Age.

Gray’s editorial contributions to the collection include the context of Paine, an argument that he is relevant in today’s era, a brief biographical sketch, and a collection of quotes allocated by date. While there is little tie between the date and the quote assigned to it, it makes for the possibility of a reader being able to apply a number of approaches to the book - one quote per day or more quotes in a shorter period of time.

A collection of quotes in an editorialized format doesn’t often capture the essence of a writer. However, Gray does an effective job in offering insights into a man who had very strong opinions about monarchy, religion, and the pursuit of democratic and republican (not the parties but the political concepts) government.