Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us - an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.
In best-selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.
The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people". Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the 21st century.
©2003 Walter Isaacson (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"The most readable full-length Franklin biography available." (The Washington Post Book World)
"Energetic, entertaining, and worldly." (The New Yorker)
"In its common sense, clarity and accessibility, it is a fitting reflection of Franklin's sly pragmatism.... This may be the book that most powerfully drives a new pendulum swing of the Franklin reputation." (The New York Times Book Review)
Really enjoyed the story of his life, plus there is great depth about the history of America and the political struggle for independence. Found the latter to be heavy going.
The author put some work in writing this book. It is apparent while reading/listening that he went through quite a few sources. It is an insightful look at Benjamin Franklins life.
The performer does a great job. However the microphone does pick up a lot of mouth noise which can be distracting. It is not bad enough to to avoid the book.
Isaacson has written a very enjoyable biography of Franklin. Never boring or too laden with detail, this volume really engages its listener-reader. From a historian's point of view, the only criticism might be that Isaacsom loves his subject too much.
Despite contrary reviews, I found the narrators voice to be pleasant and fitting for a Benjamin Franklin biography. The author provided a balanced perspective of Franklin's positive and negative qualities. Franklin was not the best family man, but his contributions to the United States and the world are unprecedented. Kudos!
If you think Franklin just flew kites it's time to get in touch with a man who helped shape America. If you think you knew Franklin before, get ready to hear an old friend reminiscing about himself in an intimacy you've never known before.
Really liked it. I wouldn't want to take a quiz after listening because it was so heavy with history and facts. However, Ben Franklin was alive in story and letter.
I'm looking forward to reading the autobiography now and am glad to have the perspective of Isaacson's book. I read/listened to his book on Steve Job and am going to start Einstein now. I recommend it.
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