The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 26, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 784 pages
28 Reviews
National Bestseller 

He was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is little more than a mythic caricature in the public imagination. Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography.

Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America’s first Renaissance man. From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured America’s independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the world’s most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant. Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth-century genius. A much needed reminder of Franklin’s greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Well written and well researched. - Goodreads
This is a very detailed, well-researched work. - Goodreads
But it makes me question his historical scholarship. - Goodreads

Review: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

User Review  - Tim Dudek - Goodreads

"Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read that much. Secondly, I often found myself pausing ... Read full review

Review: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

User Review  - Scott Martin - Goodreads

Probably the most detailed single volume of work on Ben Franklin that you could possibly imagine. Certainly learned more about him than I had ever known. This is a very detailed, well-researched work ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

H. W. Brands is Distinguished Professor of History at Texas A&M University. He lives in Austin, Texas.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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