Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin : An American Life

3.98 (80,331 ratings by Goodreads)
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During his 84-year life Benjamin Franklin was America's best scientist, inventor, publisher, business strategist, diplomat, and writer. He was also one of its most practical political thinkers. America's first great publicist, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public and polished it for posterity. In this riveting new biography Walter Isaacson provides readers with a full portrait of Franklin's public and private life - his loyal but neglected wife, his bastard son with whom he broke over going to war with England, his endless replacement families and his many amorous, but probably unconsummated, liaisons. But this is not just a biography of Benjamin Franklin but rather a fascinating look at American and European political history at that time. Isaacson examines the run up to the Revolutionary War, the intimate relations between Britain, France and the colonies and the decisive events that led to America's independence. Just as David McCullough brought life to the historic figure of John Adams, Isaacson portrays Franklin in the flesh, showing readers how this radical man helped define America's national character and personality.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 608 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 38.1mm | 816.46g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 16pp 4-c insert
  • 074325807X
  • 9780743258074
  • 2,950

Review quote

The New York Times Book Review A thoroughly researched, crisply written, convincingly argued chronicle. The New York Times In its common sense, clarity and accessibility, it is a fitting reflection of Franklin's sly pragmatism....This may be the book that most powerfully drives a new pendulum swing of the Franklin reputation. The New Yorker Energetic, entertaining, and worldly. The Washington Post Book World The most readable full-length Franklin biography available.
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Table of contents

CONTENTSCHAPTER ONEBenjamin Franklin and the Invention of AmericaCHAPTER TWOPilgrim's Progress: Boston, 1706-1723CHAPTER THREEJourneyman: Philadelphia and London, 1723-1726CHAPTER FOURPrinter: Philadelphia, 1726-1732CHAPTER FIVEPublic Citizen: Philadelphia, 1731-1748CHAPTER SIXScientist and Inventor: Philadelphia, 1744-1751CHAPTER SEVENPolitician: Philadelphia, 1749-1756CHAPTER EIGHTTroubled Waters: London, 1757-1762CHAPTER NINEHome Leave: Philadelphia, 1763-1764CHAPTER TENAgent Provocateur: London, 1765-1770CHAPTER ELEVENRebel: London, 1771-1775CHAPTER TWELVEIndependence: Philadelphia, 1775-1776CHAPTER THIRTEENCourtier: Paris, 1776-1778CHAPTER FOURTEENBon Vivant: Paris, 1778-1785CHAPTER FIFTEENPeacemaker: Paris, 1778-1785CHAPTER SIXTEENSage: Philadelphia, 1785-1790CHAPTER SEVENTEENEpilogueCHAPTER EIGHTEENConclusionsCast of CharactersChronologyCurrency ConversionsAcknowledgmentsSources and AbbreviationsNotesIndex
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About Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He and his wife live in New Orleans. Facebook: Walter Isaacson, Twitter: @WalterIsaacson
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Rating details

80,331 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 38% (30,706)
4 35% (28,025)
3 18% (14,334)
2 5% (3,837)
1 4% (3,429)

Our customer reviews

As an avowed crime fiction fan, I haven't found biographies very interesting up till now, but this one held my interest from the opening pages. Not only is Walter Isaacson's biography well researched, it is beautifully written in a very engaging and conversational way. Having given the book to my partner as a present, we both read it and often found ourselves discussing the amusing and informative anecdotes and remarking on the picture it provides of life in the American colonies in the 1700s. More than this, Isaacson has helped me realise what an amazingly down-to-earth yet visionary man Benjamin Franklin was: an author, printer, poltical theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman and diplomat. Certainly, at 500 pages, it's a very detailed biography, but Isaacson successfully does justice to his subject and also knows where to focus attention in order to engage his readers and provide insight into Franklin's personal input into the American more
by Nola Galagher
I finished reading Steve Jobs by the same author. I liked the language it was written in, so I decided to buy other biographies by this author as well. I`m not American or connected to America in any way (I`m from Latvia), but nevertheless, the book was interesting. It was more interesting for me, because I like reading books and at the moment I work in company , which is connected to printing business. I`m not going to argue about the issues mentioned in the book, but I will say, that for me (non-american) ir was a good more
by Konstantins Golevs
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