Synopses & Reviews
Moncure Daniel Conway (1832 1907), the son of a Virginian plantation-owner, became a Unitarian minister, but his anti-slavery views made him controversial. He later became a freethinker, and following the outbreak of the Civil War, which deeply divided his own family, he left the United States for England in 1863. This two-volume biography of Thomas Paine (1737 1809) was published in 1892, and was followed by a four-volume edition of his works, which did much to inspire a reassessment of Paine's importance in the 'age of revolutions'. Conway clearly identified with Paine's radicalism as well as his activities on both sides of the Atlantic. Volume 2 begins with the execution of Louis XVI, which Paine had opposed in the French Convention. Paine's subsequent career in Britain and America is then traced until his death in 1809, and Conway also considers his impact on his contemporaries, and his legacy.