When Howard Fast's Citizen Tom Paine was first published, in 1943, The New Republic said: "It is a masterful drawing done in a prose as sharp and clean and as loving of its medium as the pen of a Daumier or an Ingres." Fast has now turned the novel into a gripping two-act play during which we see Paine newly arrived in the American colonies and overflowing with a goal to create a new kind of nation. We see his influence, driven by his relentless enthusiasm, spreading until it bursts forth in Common Sense, America's first best seller, and we sexperience the compelling quality of his uncompromising idealism, which lietrally fueled the Revolution.
In Act Two, we share Paine's brief glory and later imprisonment during his involvement in the French Revolution as well as his bitterness and despair when he discovers he is no longer welcome in his own country. But the play ends on a high note, as high as Paine's own rowdy and uncompromising spirit, reaffirming his faith in the destiny of his adopted country and the essential goodness of the human spirit.
from the dust jacket of the 1986 Houghton Mifflin first edition