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Summary

"Larson's elegantly written dual biography reveals that the partnership of Franklin and Washington was indispensable to the success of the Revolution." (Gordon S. Wood)

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a masterful, first-of-its-kind dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, illuminating their partnership's enduring importance.

One of USA Today’s “Must-Read Books" of Winter 2020 • One of Publishers Weekly's "Top Ten" Spring 2020 Memoirs/Biographies

Theirs was a three-decade-long bond that, more than any other pairing, would forge the United States. Vastly different men, Benjamin Franklin - an abolitionist freethinker from the urban north - and George Washington - a slavehold­ing general from the agrarian south - were the indispensable authors of American independence and the two key partners in the attempt to craft a more perfect union at the Constitutional Convention, held in Franklin’s Philadelphia and presided over by Washington. And yet their teamwork has been little remarked upon in the centuries since.

Illuminating Franklin and Washington’s relationship with striking new detail and energy, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson shows that theirs was truly an intimate working friendship that amplified the talents of each for collective advancement of the American project.

During the French and Indian War, Franklin supplied the wagons for General Edward Braddock’s ill-fated assault on Fort Duquesne, and Washington buried the general’s body under the dirt road traveled by those retreating wagons. After long sup­porting British rule, both became key early proponents of inde­pendence. Rekindled during the Second Continental Congress in 1775, their friendship gained historical significance during the American Revolution, when Franklin led America’s diplomatic mission in Europe (securing money and an alliance with France) and Washington commanded the Continental Army. Victory required both of these efforts to succeed, and success, in turn, required their mutual coordination and cooperation. In the 1780s, the two sought to strengthen the union, leading to the framing and ratification of the Constitution, the founding document that bears their stamp.

Franklin and Washington - the two most revered figures in the early republic - staked their lives and fortunes on the American experiment in liberty and were committed to its preservation. Today the United States is the world’s great super­power, and yet we also wrestle with the government Franklin and Washington created more than two centuries ago - the power of the executive branch, the principle of checks and balances, the electoral college - as well as the wounds of their compromise over slavery. Now, as the founding institutions appear under new stress, it is time to understand their origins through the fresh lens of Larson’s Franklin & Washington, a major addition to the literature of the founding era. 

©2020 Edward J. Larson (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Kevin Fleuret
  • 06-10-20

This was an excellent story

This was an excellent story and fascinating account of both their contributions to the founding of our nation. Inspiring!

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  • fair & balanced
  • 28-03-21

Two together, written about at same time

Definitely an interesting angle two individuals on opposite ends of a controversial topic then and now. However at the same time they put together a system, Country that was able to deal with a worldwide problem. To be dealt with in the good all USA maybe not right then, however not that far down the road.

I’d highly recommend this book, information I hadn’t heard before even after listening large number of American history book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-12-20

A marvelous account of building a democratic system and a profound profound. Prophecy of what the constitution could and has be

The weaving of a successful democratic system through the framework of our constitution has allowed this experiment to thrive in spite of unlikely odds .
The profoundly accurate prediction by Benjamin Franklin “ if we let it the constitution COULD become the tool to tyranny “ as we have seen in the last four year presidential term ending in the 2000 ELECTIONS