Every now and then, you’ll see someone refer to Thomas Paine as a blogger or even as the first blogger.
Now, I’m about as big a fan of the Internet as you’ll find, but even I realize that Paine was writing well before the Internet was invented. However, it is tempting to picture Franklin and Paine hacking a line of kites with keys tied to their strings in a thunderstorm to create a broadband connection and sending out RSS feeds.
I mention this because I’ve just finished reading Harvey Kaye’s Thomas Paine and the Promiose of America. It’s a good book to add to your reading list in this Age of Blogreason.
I’ll note that Kaye does not call Paine the first blogger. His coverage really runs from Paine to Reagan (John Kerry gets one sentence, I believe), so you’ll have to draw your own blog parallels, if you choose to do so.
The book works at two levels. First, it does a good job of covering Paine’s life and works, highlighting major themes. Second, it explores the legacy of Paine and follows Paine’s path from popular Founding Father to being all-but-erased from the history books to re-discovery and adoption by a variety of political figures.
The coverage of the mid to late 1800s can seem a little dry (or maybe that was because I was reading that part late at might), but it’s a fascinating tale and history well worth reacquainting yourself with.
The best recommendation of the book is that it made me want to re-read or read for the first time all of Paine’s works. I understand why bloggers want to claim Paine and non-bloggers see Paine in the blog world. He stands uniquely both before our time and of our time. Kaye’s book makes my list of recommended reads for bloggers.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (https://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
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