A Benjamin Franklin Reader

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Simon and Schuster, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 551 pages
2 Reviews

Selected and annotated by the author of the acclaimed Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, this collection of Franklin's writings shows why he was the bestselling author of his day and remains America's favorite Founder and wit.

As a twelve-year-old apprentice in his brother's print shop, Benjamin Franklin taught himself to be a writer by taking notes on the works of great essayists such as Addison and Steele, jumbling them up, and then trying to recreate them in his own words. By that method, he recalled in his Autobiography, he was encouraged to think he might become a "tolerable" writer. In fact, he became the best, most popular, and most influential writer in colonial America. His direct and practical prose shaped America's democratic character, and his homespun humor gave birth to the nation's unique brand of crackerbarrel wisdom.

This book collects dozens of Franklin's delight-ful essays and letters, along with a complete version of his Autobiography. It includes an introductory essay exploring Franklin's life and impact as a writer, and each piece is accompanied by a preface and notes that provide background, context, and analysis. Through the writings and the introductory essays, the reader can trace the development of Franklin's thinking, along with the birth of the nation he and his pen helped to invent.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - BrynDahlquis - LibraryThing

Very, very interesting. Benjamin Franklin, while definitely a strange fellow, was certainly a genius and one of the best writers of all time. What scares me is that because he's so good, he almost ... Read full review

Review: A Benjamin Franklin Reader

User Review  - Sheri Hansen - Goodreads

Our impish American Da Vinci at his finest. People should read more of his actual stuff, or they risk losing the marvelous nuance he brings when we see his life as a whole. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Silence DogoodIntroduces Herself
9
Silence Dogood s Recipe for Poetry
18
Silence Dogood Proposes Civic Improvements
24
The Philadelphia Printer
45
A Witch Trial at Mount Holly
58
Poor Richard and Friends
93
The Public Citizen
133
The Cause of Colds
239
You Are My Enemy
259
An Appeal to Frances Interests
269
To His Daughter on Fame Frugality and Grandchildren
286
A Fable About Misguided Loyalists
311
The Constitutional Convention
357
Franklins Closing Speech
363
The Final Parody on Slavery 3 72
372

Reasons for Restoring Canada to France
187
The Cravenstreet Gazette
223
A Showdown with Lord Hillsborough
230
To Thomas Jefferson
379
The Autobiography
399
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Walter Isaacson is the author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Kissinger: A Biography and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. He lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, D.C., and Aspen, Colorado.

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