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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Narrated by: Walter Covell
Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Editor reviews

Benjamin Franklin is widely hailed as one of the first great Americans: an inventor, publisher, scientist, and diplomat. In his 1791 autobiography, readers are invited to meet the man behind the legend.

Composed between 1771 and 1790, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin begins as a letter from Franklin, at age 65, to his son William. This form gives the book an intimate tone as Franklin recounts family stories and his apprenticeship as a printer. In later sections, he discusses his plans for a public library and his experiments with electricity.

Narrator Walter Covell, using a mid-Atlantic accent appropriate to 18th-century American English, breathes life into this generous, eclectic autobiography.

Summary

Benjamin Franklin's wide range of activities and interests opened the doors of the world to him. Printer, inventor, philosopher, ambassador, champion of liberty - his influence has been felt by every American generation.

At one time, Franklin was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia and succeeded in making a profit out of it. He organized the citizenry to pave and light the streets, started a fire brigade and a fire insurance company, founded a lending library, helped build a hospital, and got and academy underway that later became the University of Pennsylvania.

And to everything he touched, including this autobiography, Franklin brought originality and wit.

Big Ben: explore our extensive list of titles about Benjamin Franklin.
Public Domain (P)1987 JimCin Recordings

Critic reviews

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a document essential to any understanding of the famous American philosopher and statesman. It is one of the best-known American books and has been much admired in all parts of the world." ( Masterworks of Autobiography)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Account of the life of an extraordinary individual

I was interested to read this book because I heard about how this self educated man set out on a quest of self improvement and improvement of the lives of the people around. I wanted to know more about him, his background and how he became involved in such a multitude of diverse interests over the course of his life.
For the most part I was able to keep up with this book, particularly Parts 1& 2. I could follow the narration well enough and the story. 4*

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Essential Listening

Really enjoyed this, very easy to listen to, like taking a journey back in time.
Ended a little abruptly though, would like to delve futher into another Franklin bio.

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  • Buhldog
  • 04-11-15

Enlightening

I really enjoyed hearing some great things about an important Founding Father. I would have loved to hear more. More about experiences with the Revolution, experiments, role as an ambassador, patriot, etc. He gives just enough to make you more interested. I recommend reading autobiographies first before you read all the trash that has been written about the person in the last 10 years. I recommend the same with this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. Coulon
  • 13-09-07

Interesting, but poor audio

The book is a very interesting look at Ben Franklin, although it is quite short. I would have liked to have had more of his writings included, such as his writings on virtues. The audio quality is poor and the book downloaded with 3 hours of some other book spliced into the end. I would try to find a Ben Franklin book that includes more of his writings if I had to do it again.

4 people found this helpful