Perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history, Benjamin Franklin was a man of vast contradictions as this brilliant biography of the statesman, scientist, and moralist demonstrates. Unraveling the enigma of Franklin's character, Morgan shows that he was the rare individual who consistently placed public interest above his own desires. ...
Perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history, Benjamin Franklin was a man of vast contradictions as this brilliant biography of the statesman, scientist, and moralist demonstrates. Unraveling the enigma of Franklin's character, Morgan shows that he was the rare individual who consistently placed public interest above his own desires. Illustrations.
New in new dust jacket. SHIP DAILY from NJ; GIFT-ABLE as NEW, WELL-MADE, fresh, NEW w/DJ NEAR NEW (shelving bump to spine ends) AS SHOWN THIS COVER. Sewn binding. Cloth over marbled boards. With dust jacket. 352 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General. 7364 7364-Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a best-selling author, the country's first postmaster general, a printer, a bon vivant, a diplomat, a ladies' man, and a moralist-and the most prominent celebrity of the 18th century. Franklin was, however, a man of vast contradictions, as Edmund Morgan demonstrates in this biography. A reluctant revolutionary, Franklin had desperately wished to preserve the British Empire, and he mourned the break even as he led the fight for American independence. Despite his passion for science, Franklin viewed his groundbreaking experiments as secondary to his civic duties. And although he helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, he had personally hoped that the new American government would take a different shape.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-07-08 This wonderful biography of an extraordinary man results from a perfect marriage of subject and scholar. Among the most senior of our senior historians, Yale professor emeritus Morgan (American Slavery, American Freedom, etc.) proves himself still at the height of his powers. While Franklin remains, as Morgan writes, elusive and hard to know because "it is so hard to distinguish his natural impulses from his principles," the author probably comes as close to understanding him as anyone can. Rather than focusing on Franklin's role as classic, representative American, Morgan instead gives us a portrait of his public life, almost a third of it spent abroad, in England and France, more than any comparable figure of his generation. In Morgan's hands, Franklin therefore turns out to be more cosmopolitan than provincial, more worldly than Pennsylvanian. He also shines in this biography as someone deeply committed to his fellow Americans and the nation they were creating. Many previous biographers have sought to explain how Franklin helped lay the foundations for a distinctive American mind and personality. Morgan instead takes us more into Franklin's thinking and activities as diplomat and politician and into the way his winning personality served his country so well at the moment it needed him. While suitably critical when Franklin deserves criticism, Morgan's bravura performance is nevertheless a buoyant appreciation of a man whose fame as aphorist in Poor Richard's Almanack and as the scientist who helped discover electricity have often obscured his devotion to the public good. It's hard to imagine a better life study of a man we've all heard about but who is barely known. 20 illus. (Sept. 24) Forecast: Morgan's reputation (he's a Bancroft and Francis Parkman prize winner) guarantees reviews, and perhaps with John Adams and Founding Brothers, readers will be ready for another great founder. This is a History Book Club main selection. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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