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

Front Cover
A&C Black, Dec 15, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
The author of Common Sense and The Rights of Man, a radical on the run from the law in London, a founding father of the United States of America, a senator of revolutionary France, Thomas Paine alone claims a key role in the development of three modern democracies. He was a walking revolution in human form - the most dangerous man alive. But in death Paine's story turns truly bizarre - his bones were taken from New York to London and eventually disappeared. In Paris, London and New York, in bars, grocers, shops and national libraries, crossing paths along the way with, among others, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, William Cobbett, Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin and even Lord Bryon, Paul Collins sets himself the challenge of finding out what happened to Paine's bones, and ends up telling one of the most extraordinary stories of modern history.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

This very readable book put me in mind of James Burke's wonderful Connections, but centers around the mortal remains and intellectual legacy of Thomas Paine. I love the usual sort of history, but ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sgerbic - LibraryThing

With cleverly titled chapters, "Here" "There" and "Everywhere" Collins takes us back and forth. America to England to America searching for Paine's bones. This story is as much about Paine but about ... Read full review


Committed to the Ground
The Bone Grubbers
Further Reading
By the same Author

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2010)

Paul Collins is the author of Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey into the Lost History of Autism. He edits the Collins Library for McSweeney's Books, and his work has appeared in New Scientist, the Village Voice, and Business 2.0.

Bibliographic information