Review of Common Sense

From a review of Common Sense in the Bloomsbury Review.  Reviewed with:

End of Evil by David Frum and Richard Perle

$25.95 Random House

 Common Sense by Peter Schuyler

$14.95 Higher Shelf Books

Hegemony or Survival: America’s quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

$22.00 Metropolitan Books

The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception by David Corn $24.00 Crown Publishers


When reading Common Sense by Peter Schuyler, one is first struck by the quotes from the book that comprise almost every left hand page. They are indeed statements of common
sense and they prepare the reader for entry into a short, fascinating look at the lives we lead.

Peter Schuyler doesn’t fill his book with foot notes. There is no introduction by a celebrated figure. Nor is there an appendix or bibliography brimming with things we should know or books we ought to read. Indeed, this book asks us to think for ourselves. The very simplicity of its presentation begs us to do so. Although it offers some very hard hitting ideas about American life, business, politics and religion it presents them in a
positive way that makes the reader feel as though he is listening to a friend speak.

The core of the book is about the idea of “us versus them”.  Schuyler provides a brief history of mankind in his exploration of how we have become the self-centered creatures that all humans are. The purpose of the book is to invite the reader to change the way we look at our fellow beings. He asks that we lose the blinders of age-old fear and distrust.

This book is a quick read but it will be something that sits in your mind for a long time. One of the blurbs for the book says, “Like its famous predecessor, (Common Sense by
Thomas Paine) Common Sense calls for a revolution—not one of blood in the streets but, instead, one of the mind. If you read this book, it will affect you.

All of these books will educate the reader. All these books contribute to a greater understanding of what is happening to this country.  With the exception of Peter Schuyler’s book, all of these books are angry.  The authors feel that we have been led down the primrose path and have lost our way. All of these books have suggestions for what we can do to change the path we are on. Perhaps the most heartening is Common Sense. The last sentence of the book says, “If there is reason to believe that the future holds something other than the present played out to some awful conclusion, then we must look to ourselves for the evolution of our minds, our heats, our souls.”

Perhaps, rather than finding someone new to hate or learning more reasons to hate someone that we already aren’t too fond of, we should think about what Peter Schuyler has to say.