"I know not whether any man in the world", wrote John Adams in 1805, "has had more influence on its inhabitants or affairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine". The impassioned democratic voice of the Age of Revolution, Paine wrote for his mass audience with vigor, clarity, and "common sense". This is the first major new edition of his work in 50 years, and the most comprehensive single-volume collection of his writings available. Emphasizing Paine's American career, it brings together his best-known works - Common Sense, The American Crisis, Rights of Man, The Age of Reason - along with scores of letters, articles, and pamphlets. Paine came to America in 1774 at age 37 after a life of obscurity and failure in England. Within 14 months he published Common Sense, the most influential pamphlet of the American Revolution and began a career that would see him prosecuted in England, imprisoned and nearly executed in France, and hailed and reviled in the American nation he helped create. In Common Sense Paine set forth an inspiring vision of an independent America as an asylum for freedom and an example of popular self-government in a world oppressed by despotism and hereditary privilege. The American Crisis, begun during "the times that try men's souls" in 1776, is a masterpiece of popular pamphleteering in which Paine vividly reports current developments, taunts and ridicules British adversaries, and enjoins his readers to remember the immense stakes of their struggle. Among the many other items included in the volume are the combative "Forester" letters, written in reply to a Tory critic of Common Sense, and several pieces concerning the French Revolution, including an incisive argument against executing Louis XVI.