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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by…

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003)

by Walter Isaacson

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Title:Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
Authors:Walter Isaacson
Info:Simon & Schuster (2004), Edition: 1st Simon & Schuster Ppbk Ed, 2004, Paperback, 608 pages
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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson (2003)

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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Excellent source for writings and primary source info on Benjamin Franklin. Middle school SS class.
  CharliePipes | Oct 9, 2016 |
ingenius if not a genius
Into so many things — shells/stoves to French

Benjamin Franklin is the Founding Father who winks at us. An ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings, he seems made of flesh rather than of marble. In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin seems to turn to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. By bringing Franklin to life, Isaacson shows how he helped to define both his own time and ours.
  christinejoseph | Sep 28, 2016 |
Another wonderful biography from Mr. Walter Isaacson.

A while ago, I read [b:Steve Jobs|11084145|Steve Jobs|Walter Isaacson|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1327861368s/11084145.jpg|16005831] by Isaacson, and was immensely impressed by how well written his biography was. I felt I was able to get into the mind and shoes of one of the founders of Apple, and came away feeling that I learned something new. After that, I knew that I would want to read about another great person, Benjamin Franklin.

The writing in this biography is just as good. The biography does a good enough job analyzing and summarizing the details of Franklin's parents' lives, his life, and the lives of his children and grandchildren, giving the reader a grand scope of what made up Benjamin Franklin. Frankly, this is what any good biography should do. There were many things I learned, and I'm grateful for that.

In my own personal ranking of biographies, this one is definitely up there. It's written in such as way that it's relatively easy for any reader to get into it without the prose dragging on too much. With that said, I found that I enjoyed Steve Jobs a little more. This might have to do with the fact that his life was much more recent than Franklin's, and therefore offered many more primary sources from which Isaacson could get his material. Likewise, if you're looking for another book centered on a founding father, [b:Alexander Hamilton|16130|Alexander Hamilton|Ron Chernow|https://d2arxad8u2l0g7.cloudfront.net/books/1436131915s/16130.jpg|1205304] by Ron Chernow. I found this to be vastly more intriguing and entertaining. ( )
  jms001 | Sep 10, 2016 |
Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin is a welcome antidote for the madness and vulgarity of what passes for contemporary American political discourse. Isaacson takes the reader back to the formative years of American society and the many key moments and personalities associated with our nation’s founding and independence. He paints Franklin as an amazing contributor to civic and political life as well as a polymath with an inveterate curiosity about science.

At the same time, however, Isaacson is careful not to paint an overly rosy picture. He makes the case, for example, that Franklin’s personal relationships with members of his nuclear family (especially his brother, wife, son, and daughter) were rather wanting, cold, and shallow. Franklin seemed more interested in and energized by intellectual banter with friends and famous names, his grandchildrens’ adoration, and flirting with lady friends. That said, how many of us possess unblemished characters which the scrutiny of a biographer’s close analysis of our lives and letters would fail to find personal shortcomings and inadequacies?

Franklin was a great man, all things considered, who contributed with arguably unmatched impact to shaping our nation at a pivotal time. Isaacson’s biography was fun, carefully researched, well written, interest-filled, and balanced. ( )
  EpicTale | Sep 3, 2016 |
Benjamin Franklin is probably our most famous autodidact. He's my hero. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
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Runger, NelsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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His arrival in Philadelphia is one of the most famous scenes in autobiographical literature: The bedraggled 17-year-old runaway, cheeky yet with a pretense of humility, straggling off the boat and buying three puffy rolls as he wanders up Market Street.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 074325807X, Paperback)

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 Franklin’s 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 here’s 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. --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:52 -0400)

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Chronicles the founding father's life and his multiple careers as a shopkeeper, writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, business strategist, and political leader, while showing how his faith in the wisdom of the common citizen helped forge an American national identity based on the virtues of its middle class.… (more)

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