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)
It's up there. Though because it's so long, I'll probably look into the Bio to re-read instead. The virtues of this man will live on forever.
Ben Franklin of course
I liked his performance. I don't know what the other reviews are talking about with his bad impersonations and "butter lips". He did a splendid job being a story teller and for a history/bio book,his cheesy impersonations keep it fun and indicate it's a direct quote.
Ha! 24+ hour marathon? I still have to squeeze in ear time for the wife.. so not for me in 1 sitting :)
Fantastic book. Only complaints are about instances of sudden jumps in topics without much warning. In history books that's to be expected but when covering grand topics, it's a little tough when it branches off into another persons tale with little build up. This book might be a little long for some so at minimum get the raw bio of Ben Franklin instead. His practical virtues should be red and studied by all.
One cannot believe that one person can cram so much productivity, thiughtful writing, and statesmanship into a single fascinating life. The engaging performance is worthy of this incredible life.
Say something about yourself!
Very insightful book that covered an important part of our country's history. Franklin, far from perfect, was instrumental in so many scientific discoveries and advances. Loved his practical side and his willingness to give so much away.
Highly recommend this book!
A detailed linear look at the life and influences of Ben Franklin. The story was well narrated and enjoyable to listen
Essential, inspiring, monumental
The bar upon which Americans are measured
This man is one to be studied.
Too much smacking of the lips and wetting the mouth and taking odd breaths during the reading. Need to turn the recording off and have some water.
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!
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