Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a best-selling author, the country's first postmaster general, a printer, a bon vivant, a diplomat, a ladies' man, and a moralist - and the most prominent celebrity of the 18th century.
Franklin was, however, a man of vast contradictions, as Edmund Morgan demonstrates in this brilliant biography. A reluctant revolutionary, Franklin had desperately wished to preserve the British Empire, and he mourned the break, even as he led the fight for American independence. Despite his passion for sciences, Franklin viewed his groundbreaking experiments as secondary to his civic duties. And although he helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, he had personally hoped that the new American government would take a different shape. Unraveling the enigma of Franklin's character, Morgan shows that he was the rare individual who constantly placed the public interest before his own desires.
Written by one of our greatest historians, Benjamin Franklin offers a provocative portrait of America's most extraordinary patriot. The book is published by Yale University Press.
What disappointed you about Benjamin Franklin?
The central problem is that this book is not the story of Benjamin Franklin - it is the story of American independence, told locally from the perspective of Benjamin Franklin. This is made worse by a tedious attitude of adulation and sycophancy. As this book tells it, the protagonist is surrounded bumbling people who love him and fools who oppose him. The ultimate portrayal is paper-thin and reveals little of Benjamin Franklin's character, personality or virtues. Disappointing.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Benjamin Franklin?
The early chapters describing his youth provided most insight into his character. The rest of it is just sycophantic adulation.
Would you consider the audio edition of Benjamin Franklin to be better than the print version?
No. The narration was clear and well done though a bit dry and monotone. I fell asleep several times while I was listening. I'm not sure if narrators are aloud to act out parts when a person is actually speaking, but I'd personally enjoy it.
What other book might you compare Benjamin Franklin to and why?
Have already read Isaacson, Brands (currently) and Kidd. I like Brands prose the most but this book had lots of information and points of view not covered in other books, so I liked it very much.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
The narration was clear and well done though a bit dry and monotone. I fell asleep several times while I was listening. I'm not sure if narrators are aloud to act out parts when a person is actually speaking, but I'd personally enjoy it.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Over 9 hours? I don't think so. I tried for 1 to 2 hour sittings at a time.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I wish the book was read by a more dynamic narrator. The story of Benjamin Franklin is fascinating and rich and Mr. Adamson’s read is a bit flat.