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To Begin the World Over Again: the life of Thomas Paine, call number DVD 791.4372 P165tb 2015, 74 minutes.

There is a theatrical tradition of one-person shows focused on historical figures, such as Mark Twain (Mark Twain Tonight!), Will Rogers and Harry Truman.

This video is Ian Ruskin’s one-man performance based on the life of American revolutionary and founding father Thomas Paine. This is an entertaining way to become acquainted with the sincere but flawed revolutionary writer. Paine was born in England, and after failing in business there, he went to the American colonies at the age of 37. His writings, most notably Common Sense (which he admits was not his original title), helped to¬†ignite the American Revolution. He eventually went to France during the time of the French Revolution, and was a great advocate of the Age of Reason. Sadly, he died in poverty, ignored and disdained. His radical (and surprisingly modern) ideas about democracy, equality, slavery, the Bible, pensions, health-care, education, and morality are actually very different than his detractors would have had everyone believe. This video is of the staged one man performance in March of 2015 at the Lillian Theatre in Hollywood. Also included are audience comments in a separate section.

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