Bolt of Fate: Benjamin Franklin and His Fabulous Kite
Bolt of Fate Benjamin Franklin and His Fabulous Kite Author:Tom Tucker Now in paperback: "This is Franklin unmasked" (The New Yorker) Benjamin Franklin flying his electric kite is one of the most celebrated images of any Founding Father's life. Yet, as Tom Tucker argues convincingly in Bolt of Fate, the kite may never have existed and that, oddly enough, its absence tells us more about Franklin than i... more »ts presence might. Franklin was an enthusiastic and capable hoaxer-regularly running stories from fabricated personalities in his own periodicals. He was also sly, witty, and used to outthinking the competition. He knew that a scientific feat of this magnitude would propel him to the front of the era's international, intensely competitive scientific community. The Franklin that his experiment presented to the world-a homespun, rural philosopher-scientist performing an immensely important and dangerous experiment with a child's toy-became the Franklin of myth. In fact, this presentation on Franklin's part so charmed the French that he became an irresistible celebrity when he traveled there during the American Revolution. The crowds and the journalists, and the ladies, cajoled the French powers into joining us in our fight against the British. As Tucker shows, this trick illuminates all of Franklin's life and much of his era; and it may even have helped the Americans with their Revolution.« less
A good book. I expected that the author would breathe more life into Franklin, but for me he did not. It was written in an extremely technical manner with regard to the electical experiments and the correspondance between characters. Not as lively as I was hoping it would be. Doesn't make it a bad book, just not my favorite...