Lewis H. Lapham is editor of Lapham's Quarterly and former editor of Harper's Magazine. He is the author of numerous books, including Money and Class in America, Theater of War, Gag Rule, and, most recently and Pretensions to Empire. With wit and wisdom Lapham examines Paine's ideas and their relevance in a history that spans the ages. From Plato to George W. Bush, Lapham connects past with present to show why Thomas Paine's ideas are important today. "Thomas Paine doesn't think it the duty of the political writer to keep things running quietly and smoothly, says Lapham. It was "Explicit in Common Sense...his aim is to arm ordinary individuals with the weapon with which to defend themselves against organized deception and arbitrary power."