We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
Benjamin Franklin Audiobook

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Regular Price:$21.27
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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 twenty-first century.

©2003 Walter Isaacson; (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Benjamin Franklin catalogs the extraordinary range of its subject's accomplishments, which remain unrivaled in their variety and utility." (The New York Times)
"Isaacson has crafted a wonderfully written biography, and his treatment of Franklin's youth and rise to prominence is insightful and imaginative" (The Washington Post)
"The abridgment is seamless, the text runs the gamut...from brilliant to ordinary."(AudioFile)
"Blessed with one of the most polished and easy-to-absorb voices in the audio business, reader Boyd Gaines does an outstanding job with Walter Isaacson's excellent biography of perhaps the most appealing of the Founding Fathers..." (USA Today)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (871 )
5 star
 (341)
4 star
 (322)
3 star
 (156)
2 star
 (38)
1 star
 (14)
Overall
4.3 (353 )
5 star
 (180)
4 star
 (107)
3 star
 (55)
2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (2)
Story
4.4 (359 )
5 star
 (188)
4 star
 (122)
3 star
 (40)
2 star
 (7)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Buster 04-05-15
    Buster 04-05-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    62
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Abridged version felt incomplete"

    Abridged version felt incomplete
    Would have liked the entire book
    This was fine...the author does lose a little objectivity

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reo 02-05-15
    Reo 02-05-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a good listen"

    this was my first book on Franklin . the weaves a tale of an ordinary man who rose too greatness by his own efforts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin Hinsdale, IL, United States 03-18-13
    Kevin Hinsdale, IL, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen, entertaining and learned alot"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would recommend this book. Franklin is such an important figure in US history, and accomplished so much in so many different fields. At the same time he is controversial and that controversy continues today with popular opinion shifting from time to time. This book also dispelled facts I thought I knew about Franklin and introduced me on many I did not know.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ben Franklin. Really interesting figure who did so much, however at the same time had some interesting characteristics that I never quite understood. He had the ability to compromise on so many issues and then at the same time would be steadfast in issues such as deity and his loyalist son. Incredibly complex and interesting individual with many of his maxims so relevant today.


    What does Boyd Gaines bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His read and inflection had the ability to take you back to the day in many instances.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Inside an American Icon


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Griff LONG BEACH, CA, United States 09-03-12
    Griff LONG BEACH, CA, United States 09-03-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "pretty boring"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    lacked entertainment value. I understand its a biography but it was not very entertaining at all.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    good description of his life but at times was tough to get through


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Boyd Gaines?

    yes


    Was Benjamin Franklin worth the listening time?

    if you're a Ben Franklin 'the man' fan and enjoy factual history you will like this book. If you're more of a Ben Franklin 'ideas and theory' fan this is probably not the book you're looking for


    Any additional comments?

    not the book I was expecting so probably skewed my review since I was looking at it from a different angle

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mario Canada 07-10-12
    Mario Canada 07-10-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "First audiobook in a loooong time...."
    What made the experience of listening to Benjamin Franklin the most enjoyable?

    Well written, entertaining, and fascinating facts and anecdotes!


    What other book might you compare Benjamin Franklin to and why?

    Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs biographies both written by Isaacson.


    Which character – as performed by Boyd Gaines – was your favorite?

    Ben Franklin of course!


    Any additional comments?

    I have rediscovered the value of audiobooks after more than 10 years when the ease of downloads and apps did not exist. I am very happy I did try it out again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Tulsa, OK, United States 03-25-12
    Beth Tulsa, OK, United States 03-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Read/Listen"

    Very easy to follow and great information while building Franklins character. I listened to it straight through

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Saint Clairsville, OH, United States 12-30-11
    John Saint Clairsville, OH, United States 12-30-11 Member Since 2016

    Gumby

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Inspiring! Suggest reading autobiography first."

    He may be the single most imporant person of modern history. He was truely a leader by example.

    Marxism>Lennonism>Communism there should be Franklinism - the Art of Diplomacy - rational thinking for the common good of Man

    He tried to immulate Socates and Jesus - yet apparently he was not religiously religious

    It is my ambition to try to immulate the virtures of Ben and the free spirit of John Lennon

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua 06-26-06
    Joshua 06-26-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Entertaining, Engaging, Fun"

    I confess I havent read any of the other reviews before I wrote this one. I just wanted to leave my first review here as a new audible member and tell you this is fantastic. I am only a quarter of the way through his audible book and loved the details. I cannot believe that Franklin is even more interesting than I first believed/knew and had a hand in so many things historical (or otherwise). The section about his family life, early publishing, bits of humor, and ambassador type status to France are all great fun. (A good example: Pay attention to the part where he and John Adams, due to inadequate accommodations, had to share a bed together and how Franklin avoided catching Adams' cold)

    I recommend this book heartily. I am a new American History fan and I think this and 1776 (by a different author) are just superb. Get them both.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Austin, TX, USA 03-17-04
    Michael Austin, TX, USA 03-17-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    80
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "wonderful life"

    Amazing to hear how our fore fathers lived

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy Hiawassee, GA, USA 12-28-03
    Timothy Hiawassee, GA, USA 12-28-03
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "A True History Book"

    This is a wonderful lesson in history. The definition of Unabridged is; COMPLETE, being the most complete of its class. The definition of abridged is; to shorten in duration or extent.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.