Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

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Simon and Schuster, Jul 31, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 608 pages
1587 Reviews
In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
 

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User Review  - Sandydog1 - www.librarything.com

A great book! I deserve a dreaded blue flag (or something) for trying to review an audio abridgement, but I definitively enjoyed this account of an amazing genius with some typical human weaknesses ... Read full review

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User Review  - Jeremy_Palmer - LibraryThing

Well done but author felt need to constantly remind reader that yes, BF was talented, but not a poet and not a philosopher like Hume, not a scientist like Newton. He mentioned this repeatedly. Annoying. Otherwise fascinating insight. Last half of book was lengthy. Read full review

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Contents

Chapter One Benjamin Franklin and the Invention of America
1
Boston 17061723
5
Philadelphia and London 17231726
36
Philadelphia 17261732
52
Philadelphia 17311748
102
Philadelphia 17441751
129
Philadelphia 17491756
146
London 17571762
175
Paris 17781785
382
Philadelphia 17851790
436
Chapter Seventeen Epilogue
471
Chapter Eighteen Conclusions
476
Cast of Characters
495
Chronology
503
Currency Conversions
507
Acknowledgments
509

Philadelphia 17631764
206
London 17651770
219
London 17711775
252
Philadelphia 17751776
290
Paris 17761778
325
Paris 17781785
350
Sources and Abbreviations
513
Notes
519
Index
567
About the Author
591
A Note on Type
593
Copyright

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Page 5 - Thus I went up Market Street as far as Fourth Street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance.

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About the author (2003)

Walter Isaacson, University Professor of History at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Facebook: Walter Isaacson, Twitter: @WalterIsaacson

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