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Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was a radical, a revolutionary, an author and a pamphleteer. Denounced in Britain following the publication of the Rights of Man (1791), Paine's intellectual legacy is such that he is still cited in the political rhetoric of today.Speck's biography examines Paine's work afresh, in light of new thinking about the role of religion in the formation of his political ideology, and also places Paine within the recently-developed context of 'Atlantic History'. Paine's continuing relevance to the political debates of our time poses the question, 'How far is Thomas Paine "our contemporary"?' - a question which this study seeks to answer.