An absoultely fascinating read about Franklin. This book portrays him to be highly intelligent, innovative, an inventor, a great scientist, a savvy businessman, articulate, witty, vindictive, and a social butterfly with royalty, persons of influence and females in particular. I very much enjoyed this book and the detailed description of the time, Franklin himself, others (such as John Adams), and how the world perceived Franklin as a great man and mind.
This is a wonderful, readable biography of the man-of-the-people who shaped the US constitution at the age of 80+. We owe more to Ben Franklin than any of the other Founding Fathers. This book will show you why.
This is a wonderful book. I read it after the book about John Adams to compare the perspectives.
learned things about Franklin that you won't find in history books
This is a huge paperback, filled with all kinds of detail about Franklin's life here and in Europe, as well as 70 pages of sources. A "clever man with a disarming wit and winning smile", the style of the book seems to reflect his character. Really enjoyed this book.
History has never been an attention-grabber for me, but recently I've been on a American history kick. I found that washing dishes was the perfect time to listen to this book. There is a lot more to Benjamin Franklin than the kite flyer of my childhood history. A lot of his press was written by him, which I think was a pretty smart move, but the information from contemporary sources also has a positive feeling. When refering to "founding father", you couldn't be more accurate than Benjamin Franklin.
Wordy and boring and a lot of politics from the past.
It's taken me approximately 10 years since my visit to Independence Hall to dive into my souvenir from the trip - Walter Isaacson's excellent biography of Philadelphia's favorite son (albeit adopted from his native Boston, I learned), Benjamin Franklin. I was a fool to have waited so long! (I confess: I didn't read the actual book I bought, but instead borrowed the Audio version from the library and listened to the book being read to me on 21 CDs.)
We all know that Ben Franklin was a multifaceted individual, and this book devotes time and space to all of those interests and expertises. Printer (which is how Franklin referred to himself). Author / Philosopher. Scientist / Inventor. Revolutionary / Politician / Diplomat. Incorrigible flirt. And, most importantly, image consultant Franklin was well aware of who he wanted to be perceived as in order to gain the most advantage for himself and his causes.
This is not a short book but it is definitely a worthwhile investment of the time it'll take you to read (or listen to) it.
RATING: 5 stars.
Benjamin Franklin, writes journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, was that rare Founding Father who would sooner wink at a passer-by than sit still for a formal portrait. What's more, Isaacson relates in this fluent and entertaining biography, the revolutionary leader represents a political tradition that has been all but forgotten today, one that prizes pragmatism over moralism, religious tolerance over fundamentalist rigidity, and social mobility over class privilege. That broadly democratic sensibility allowed Franklin his contradictions, as Isaacson shows. Though a man of lofty principles, Franklin wasn't shy of using sex to sell the newspapers he edited and published; though far from frivolous, he liked his toys and his mortal pleasures; and though he sometimes gave off a simpleton image, he was a shrewd and even crafty politician. Isaacson doesn't shy from enumerating Franklins occasional peccadilloes and shortcomings, in keeping with the iconoclastic nature of our time--none of which, however, stops him from considering Benjamin Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age," and one of the most admirable of any era. And heres one bit of proof: as a young man, Ben Franklin regularly went without food in order to buy books. His example, as always, is a good one--and this is just the book to buy with the proceeds from the grocery budget.
Readable and full of information. An account of what defined the man, what influenced him and what remarkable accomplishments he achieved.
An excellent biography that does not get caught up in too much "textbook" detail.