The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine

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Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 5 of 5. Seller Image. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. We have ratings, but no written reviews for this, yet. Event Coordinator. Paine's missing bones, like saint's relics, have been scattered for two centuries, and their travels are the trail of radical democracy itself.

Free again, Paine lashed out at President Washington, whom he blamed for not coming to his rescue. This alone would have been enough to secure his lasting ignominy in America, but Paine had more in mind.

About The Trouble with Tom

The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine. By: Paul Collins Media of The Trouble with Tom But then, Tom Paine isn't your typical founding father. The Trouble with Tom. The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine. By: Paul Collins Media of The Trouble with Tom. See larger image.

In , he released the final, and most daring, chapter of his classic trilogy. Scurrilous attacks—that he was a hopeless drunk, that he beat his wife, that he raped a cat!

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It was symbolically appropriate that, as he tottered around New York City, he could find no place to be buried. Even the archliberal Quakers spurned his request. When he died in , six people attended his funeral in New Rochelle, New York, and his tombstone was desecrated soon afterward. But the result was nothing so clear. Indeed, The Trouble With Tom , which seems to begin as a quest to find the remains—a metaphor for understanding Paine—becomes a meditation on how elusive both are.

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Where this tale leaves off, Harvey J. Kaye picks up, in Thomas Paine and the Promise of America.

Roosevelt and C. Wright Mills.

Reading Banvard's Folly, there was a vertiginous moment, as giant fans gusted hydraulic subway trains beneath Boss Tweed's corrupt New York City Hall, when it dawned that the book might not be quirky history but an elaborate hoax, yet it was not. There are also times in The Trouble With Tom, such as the appearance of the long-lost Muggletonians 'the world's laziest cult' , when it occurs that one might be entangled in some Borgesian fiction, with added elements of memoir.

Clues are scattered.

Thomas Paine "The American Crisis" Literary animation

A chapter is devoted to the Mornington Crescent radio game Paine's bones once lodged in a nearby house , and Paine's revolution-inducing pamphlet, 'Common Sense', is likened by Collins to 'the telescoping segments of a collapsible spyglass. By the time you realise what he's doing, he's already folded you up and put you in his pocket.

The suspicion of contrivance is most pronounced at those points when he inserts his own presence as actor and observer: too often, the intercutting of past and present pivots on implausible coincidence, undermining the assiduous patterning of his historical research.

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But for all its shortcomings, there is much joyous wit and dizzying eclecticism in this playful reminder of Paine's enduring relevance. Topics Biography books The Observer. From the Author This book began, like much of my writing, with stumbling across something so confoundingly odd that I muttered: "What the hell is this? From that one lead would unspool the entire travelogue and political history of this book. This is probably not the book to begin with if you're a new reader of my work -- unless you're the kind of reader that takes that as a personal provocation to read exactly this book first.

It's a mcguffin chase, a bit of a shaggy-skull story, and the most freewheeling narrative structure I ever used.