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)
I thoroughly enjoyed this once I set the read speed to 1.5x. The native speed of the narrator is painfully slow, hence the 2 stats. over all, I enjoyed it.
Written in choking detail & told in cloying annoyance, I thought this 24 hours of narration would never end. Probably should have turned it in, but rode it out wanting to understand Franklin to the end. Sadly, I came away thinking he was a moralistic prig, not really liking him, yet he accomplished so much for science & the formation of the country. So I think the writing & telling didn't serve him well, didn't present a well rounded view ... I got snagged by relentless details I didn't care about & enraged by the whiny quote reenactments. Okay, I'm finished now!
Very comprehensive but at times repetitive. Author used same material and/or made same conclusions repeatedly. That said, this is an exhaustive work of highest scholarship.
A must for anyone who want to rediscover the founding fathers.
Very well presented biography that helps reshape a false image of generality and criticism of one of the greatest American founders, philosophers, scientists and statesman in my opinion has ever lived.
The narration is good though at times the narrator has a few bouts of "peanut butter" noises that can be a little irritating, but it isn't throughout. In my opinion a lot of it is from the way it was recorded, and is obvious that the editing got lazy half way through and ignored these pauses.
Either way a great listen!
Walter Isaacson's story was great.
The narrator Nelson Runger was absolutely disgusting with his mouth noises and completely distracted from the story.
Mouth noises!!! Do not, I repeat do not buy this book if you do not like someone smacking/licking his lips in your ear. He swallows very loudly and makes strange noises way too frequently while reading. How hard is it to turn your head away from the mic?! The pauses he takes to drink and swallow distracts from the story as they are sometimes up to 5 seconds long, almost like a break between chapters.
I will NEVER purchase a book read by this author again!!
Anger that the narrator was so bad!
It's an exhaustive bio of a complex man, often mistaken for a simple one. Isaacson could have trimmed this massive work to concentrate on Franklin's public life. Instead, he examined "The First American" and his private and familial relationships in detail.
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