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The Trouble with Tom

The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A Book Sense Fall 2005 History Channel Top Ten Pick
Paul Collins combines present-day travelogue with an odyssey down the forgotten paths of history as he searches for the physical remains of founding father Thomas Paine. Paine's missing body, like a saint's relics, has been scattered in pieces around the world over the last two centuries-a brainstem in New York, a box of bones in London, a lock of hair in Edinburgh, a skull in Sydney. As Paul tracks down these remnants, he revisits the unusual life of Tom Paine-and in his search for Paine's body, Collins uncovers that body's soul.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 22, 2005 – These are the times that try men's... bones? In this quixotic, mischievous and often hilarious work, Collins (Sixpence House) traces the bizarre story of Thomas Paine's remains through nearly two centuries of American and English history. After Paine's death in 1809, the iconoclastic reformer was refused burial in any Christian cemetery and was laid to rest ignominiously on his New York farm with only six people in attendance. Ten years later, a follower exhumed the remains and took them to England, where they were passed about for decades while various individuals harvested this or that relic for their private collections. More than a history of Paine's body, Collins offers an entertaining and compelling investigation of his legacy; Paine's example continued to animate all kinds of reformers throughout the 19th century, from feminists and spiritualists to phrenologists and physicians. Indeed, Paine's artifacts had a kind of Forrest Gump quality, bumping into many of the celebrated causes, writers and agitators of the day. Part travelogue, part memoir and part historical mystery, this book reads like a wry, witty novel and offers a delicious twist at the end.

Customer Reviews

badly edited

I enjoyed this book, but the digital version was so roughly edited that at times it was hard to figure out what the text was supposed to say. I'm talking copy-editing here--loads of misspelled words and missing punctuation but not the way that a human writer would misspell things, more like the way a computer scanning in a hard copy misinterprets the text (example: what from context was clearly supposed to be £5 was printed as LS). I felt like i was reading a Project Gutenberg book, except it wasn't free. Then again, maybe these kinds of errors were in the hard copy too, i don't know. Regardless, there were enough errors consistently throughout that it negatively influenced my reading experience, which has not happened to this degree in any other book i've purchased through iTunes.

Collins is great; the e-book isn't.

The story is fascinating and beautifully told, but this version is a disaster. It's riddled with mistakes and typos. Skip it. Buy the paper version, or wait for an improved release.

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The Trouble with Tom
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Sep 05, 2010
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Seller: INscribe Digital
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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