The tenth and youngest son of a poor Boston soapmaker, Benjamin Franklin would rise to become, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "the greatest man and ornament of his age." In this short, engaging biography, historian Edwin S. Gaustad offers a marvelous portrait of this towering colonial figure, illuminating Franklin's character and personality. Here is truly one of the most extraordinary lives imaginable, a man who, with only two years of formal education, became a printer, publisher, postmaster, philosopher, world-class scientist and inventor, statesman, musician, and abolitionist. Gaustad presents a chronological account of all these accomplishments, delightfully spiced with quotations from Franklin's own extensive writings. The book describes how the hardworking Franklin became at age 24 the most successful printer in Pennsylvania and how by 42, with the help of Poor Richard's Almanack, he had amassed enough wealth to retire from business. We then follow Franklin's next brilliant career, as an inventor and scientist, examining his pioneering work on electricity and his inventions of the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod, and bifocals, as well as his mapping of the Gulf Stream, a major contribution to navigation. Lastly, the book covers Franklin's role as America's leading statesman, ranging from his years in England before the Revolutionary War to his time in France thereafter, highlighting his many contributions to the cause of liberty. Along the way, Gaustad sheds light on Franklin's personal life, including his troubled relationship with his illegitimate son William, who remained a Loyalist during the Revolution, and Franklin's thoughts on such topics as religion and morality. Written by a leading authority on colonial America, this compact biography captures in a remarkably small space one of the most protean lives in our nation's history.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
13 colonies American appointed arrival authority Autobiography Benjamin Franklin Boston Brands Britain British Church citizens colo colonies colonists colony’s common Concord Continental Congress Deborah Deborah Read Doren early effort electricity Empire enemy England English experience father France France’s Franklin added Franklin concluded Franklin explained Franklin responded Franklin thought Franklin took Franklin tried Franklin wrote friends Gaustad gave George German glass governor Gulf Stream House Hutchinson Ibid intentionally left blank invented Isaacson Jefferson John Adams Keith king land letter Lexington liberty light London Marguerite Gérard Massachusetts ment military never noted offer official Papers Paris Parliament peace Pennsylvania Gazette Peter Collinson Philadelphia Poor Richard’s Almanack printed printer Quakers Quartering Act quickly religion repeal Revolution Richard Bache royal sailing satire ship Silence Dogood slavery slaves Society soon Stamp Act taxes Thomas Penn tion troops Twain Virginia Washington William Writings York young