Try our newest plan – access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Buy for $31.47

Buy for $31.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

An Audiobook Original

There is no dearth of writings about the founding of America, but in this under-reported and under-taught story of the American Revolution, light is shed on the role Benjamin Franklin played in bringing the northern and southern colonies together against corrupt British rule. Along with an “Inner Circle” of British Abolitionists, Franklin worked behind the scenes to secure the freedom of a single American slave, James Somersett; and then, in cooperation with a vast network of colonial allies, set in motion a series of events that provided the impetus for northern patriots and politically cautious southern slaveholders to join forces.

In 1757, Benjamin Franklin cared most about the security and prosperity of his beloved adopted home of Philadelphia. Threatened by the French during King George’s War and with little help from the proprietors of Pennsylvania, the hated Penn family, Franklin sought assistance and support in London to no avail, thus leading him to develop a secret plan to gain freedom from Great Britain for Pennsylvania, and ultimately all the colonies. The success of this plot would hinge upon politically motivating the northern and southern colonies, each with vastly different interests. In the end, it was two unrelated historical events: that of the freeing of the slave Somersett in London’s highest court; and the discovery, and leaking of, the Hutchinson letters, that turned the tide in favor of independence.

Part courtroom drama, part political thriller, this assiduously researched work of American history is enacted by a cast of award-winning actors who electrify the drama as they bring to life over thirty historical characters in intermittent scenes presented in stage play form. In the London Courtroom of King’s Bench, we meet the most brilliant legal minds of the era as both sides argue their case for or against Somersett’s manumission. In the drawing room of London’s most prestigious physician, John Fothergill, we are witness to Franklin and the members of his Inner Circle as they grapple with, and meet, the massive challenges that planning a revolution entail.

Here is a critically important, little known story that adds to our understanding of yet another complicated founding father. By laying out Franklin’s audacious plan to convince southern slaveholders that revolution, and only revolution, was sufficient to ensure their right to chattel labor, we are offered further evidence that the ugly stain of racism and slavery is embedded in every moment of our history.

©2021 Phillip Goodrich (P)2021 Phillip Goodrich

Critic Reviews

“With a sense of unbound curiosity, narrator Robert Petkoff narrates this fascinating account…A 1772 judgment by the Earl of Mansfield, [is] voiced with perfect British authority by Simon Jones…Essential listening. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” (Audiofile)  

"Goodrich blends meticulously researched history with imaginatively rendered scenes and conversations... [in] a fascinating narrative about lesser-known events that sparked the American Revolution. His book is sure to intrigue anyone with a love of American history." (Blueink Starred Review) 

“In concise, crisp chapters, the volume provides both an overview of Franklin’s life and his relationship to a larger network of Colonial and early Republic figures. It is particularly adept at weaving Franklin’s personal story within the grand scheme of 18th-century international politics. Goodrich offers general readers an engrossing, well-written narrative history full of rich details." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Somersett

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    26
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    27
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good historical, skip political at end

this book was informative, however the political spew in the afterward is just that.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

worth reading! interest alt narrative!

well worth the time to listen too and in turn expand ones assumed history of the American revolution

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wealth of History

I learned so much. I felt like I was lurking along the walks unseen in all conversations. alot of information to digest but see now how we came to be in America and reparations that need to be made. If only now and our near future we can save equality, women's right and racial just as long before has been done for us.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Very Good, wrong title

very interesting and entertaining. the title of the book seems misleading. the author's preface tries to address this. There is a section regarding Sommerset. However, I'm not sure that warrants the title.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nope

When will I learn? I cannot stand this narrator’s vocal styling. Every sentence sounds like a petty argument.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic

Amazing story, beautifully told. I thought I knew Franklin well, but i discovered much new information.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

new information on a subject have studied for year

enjoyed the new perspective and the reading by the author, with if the cuff inights

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Intrigue, compelling characters, great listening!

Really excellent work by Goodrich and great use of the Audio Book format. A little overzealous in the license taken to wrap up the ending but a great tapestry of history to reveal highly likely and believable telling of events.

.