Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

3.88 (1,773 ratings by Goodreads)
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A New York Times Bestseller, a 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and a Washington Post Book World, Publisher's Weekly, and Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Book of the Year

"Superb. . . . The best short biography of Franklin ever written."-Gordon Wood, New York Review of Books

"None rivals Morgan's study for its grasp of Franklin's character."-Joseph J. Ellis, London Review of Books

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 bestselling 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 eighteenth 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 science, 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 consistently placed the public interest before his own desires.

Written by one of our greatest historians and a Pulitzer Prize winner, Benjamin Franklin offers a provocative portrait of America's most extraordinary patriot.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 127 x 197 x 22.35mm | 272g
  • New Haven, CT, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 24 b-w illus.
  • 0300101627
  • 9780300101621
  • 527,932

Review quote

"While several previous biographies provide fuller accounts of Franklin's life, none rivals Morgan's study for its grasp of Franklin's character, its affinity not just for his ideas, but for the way his mind worked." Joseph J. Ellis, London Review of Books "Superb... The best short biography of Franklin ever written. A concise and beautifully written portrait of an American hero." Gordon Wood, New York Review of Books "Entrancing... lucid and entertaining." Charles M. Carberry, USA Today "In this engaging and readable book, Edmund Morgan does more than recount the colourful and gripping story of Franklin's long, action- and idea-filled life; he also skillfully dissects the man's personality and mind, his social self and political beliefs." Susan Dunn, New York Times Book Review "A luminous biography." Louis P. Masur, Chicago Tribune Book Review "It is difficult, perhaps impossible, to find fault with this book." Carol Berkin, New England Quartely
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About Edmund S. Morgan

Edmund S. Morgan (1916-2013) was Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University. He wrote more than a dozen books including Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America, which won the Bancroft Prize, and American Slavery, American Freedom, which won the Francis Parkman Prize and the Albert J. Beveridge Award. Cited as "one of America's most distinguished historians," Morgan was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2000; in 2006, he received a special Pulitzer Prize "for a creative and deeply influential body of work as an American historian that spans the last half century."
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Rating details

1,773 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 33% (584)
4 33% (590)
3 25% (445)
2 6% (112)
1 2% (42)
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