[Site editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]
The story of his life is richer and weirder than any fiction. Among his close friends were visionary poets such as William Blake as well as political icons like Benjamin Franklin. Napoleon slept with his books by his pillow, and told him statues of gold should be erected to him in every city in the universe (but the admiration was not reciprocated). Thomas Edison believed him to be one of the most brilliant minds in human history. Some of his writings rank among the greatest bestsellers of the 18th century. He participated in the two revolutions (the American and the French) that changed the political face of the modern world.
During the American Revolution, George Washington used his writings to inspire his troops to remember what they were fighting for, and even suggested that no other individual had done more for the cause of American independence.… Read the rest