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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – Print, June 7, 1996

ISBN-13: 858-1000011187 ISBN-10: 0486290735 Edition: New edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; New edition edition (June 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486290735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486290737
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Blessed with enormous talents and the energy and ambition to go with them, Franklin was a statesman, author, inventor, printer, and scientist. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and later was involved in negotiating the peace treaty with Britain that ended the Revolutionary War. He also invented bifocals, a stove that is still manufactured, a water-harmonica, and the lightning rod.
Franklin's extraordinary range of interests and accomplishments are brilliantly recorded in his Autobiography, considered one of the classics of the genre. Covering his life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, this charming self-portrait recalls Franklin's boyhood, his determination to achieve high moral standards, his work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, experiences during the French and Indian War, and more. Related in an honest, open, unaffected style, this highly readable account offers a wonderfully intimate glimpse of the Founding Father sometimes called "the wisest American."

Customer Reviews

Overall a very interesting read.
Robin Fernandez-Medina
Franklin had a huge vocabulary and used lots of long sentences, in a style very different from modern writing.
KNimblett
This book will help young people - like myself - find clear guidance and purpose in life.
Roberto Jimenez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 184 people found the following review helpful By Paul J. Heckman, Jr. on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" does not contain the type of finished material one has come to expect in a finished coherent autobiographical writing covering the whole life span of the individual written by single author over a continuous period of time. This is really source material partially written over distinctly separate periods of time wherein the author, Benjamin Franklin, wrote on two different continents without access to the other parts of his text. With that said, I still think that this book is a wonderful and enlightening piece of work. It should, in my opinion, be considered for placement in every high school and college library, and it should perhaps be wise to consider it for required reading in those institutions. The book tells of the life and times in which Mr. Franklin lived, the attitudes of the colonists and of the British and the ways that things were accomplished in colonial America. It is truly amazing to me to hear first hand how a single individual with only two years of formal education can educate himself as this man did and to rise to make such truly great contributions to society, science, engineering, and politics. I highly recommend this book.
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126 of 130 people found the following review helpful By john purcell on November 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
Franklin wrote this autobiography as a letter of instruction in the ways of the world to his youthful and illegitimate son of 40. It only covers the first half or so of his incredible life, so the things that really made him well-known are not covered, but there is plenty here anyway.
Franklin recounts his family's modest life in England and the circumstances that brought them to Boston. He was among the youngest of a very large family, ultimately finding his way to Philadelphia to find work as a printer when an apprenticeship with an older brother turned sour.
We always think of Franklin as being a slightly older statesman among the Founding Fathers, when in fact he was a full generation older than Washington or Jefferson. Unlike popular perception, he was an athletic and vibrant youth, who rescued a drowning Dutch companion and taught swimming to children of London's elite.
Philadelphia in the 1720's and 1730's was a small town, never sure if it would really take off as a settlement. Franklin quickly befriended key politicians who felt Philadelphia had grown sufficiently to have a world-class print shop. He played a key role in the town's development, leading civic groups in establishing libraries, fire companies, meeting halls, and street cleaning services. Of course, he was also the consummate politician, serving in office, and networking his way to his first fortune by publishing government documents and printing the first paper currency. He also had a knack for working with the several important religious sects of that time and place, especially the pacifist Quakers, even though Franklin was a deist.
Franklin was a clever businessman.
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120 of 126 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book is divided into four parts, and is ultimately unfinished; that is the largest disappointment you will find as you read the last sentance. However, the book gives you a true feel for the life and times this great man lived through. The writing is very arbitrary, almost (but not quite) stream-of-conscious, and anecdotal, but enjoyable. Another disappointment is the lack of discussion of the American Revolution and his role in it. But it did give me the desire to read more of this amazing individual, and renewed my sense of pride in my country, as well as its interesting history. Read this book as a beginning, with expectations of it taking your mind to a different level of interest...
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Anne Lazarus on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book came to me based on a recommendation by Anthony Robbins in his book "Awaken the Giant Within." And upon reading it, it occurs to me how many gurus have built on, or simply stolen, Ben Franklin's ideas for living a life with purpose, on purpose. (Cheers to Robbins for identifying his mentors and sources so openly.) "The Autobiography of Ben Franklin" is a quick easy read with many rewards. Learn about the man, discover the seed of modern self-help ideas, and see America though a unique set of eyes.
About the writing. . . When Franklin took pen to paper his motivation was to share ideas with his son. In other words, he was writing a letter, and what a joy that it survived as a letter to each of us. Enjoy this book as insights offered by a dynamic individual. And, have the flexibility to enjoy writing that certainly isn't in the pop-culture mold of our century. I myself found this refreshing! If you like ideas and value the role mentors can play in our lives, then read this book today.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Stines on February 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Far from a "boring read", Franklin's work gives an unique insight into the 18th century working class people. Much that has been written about Franklin is absolute rubbish. His autobiography puts the man in real perspective. Granted he was a bit self centered and, at times, self congradulating, but his accomplishments were many. His wit is often stinging. I was surprised to read about his military activities and yet he was influenced by the Quakers. It's also significant that he talks of his belief in the deity and the fact that he was a presbetyrian. Many "revisionist historians" claim that Franklin was an atheist. This certainly suggests otherwise. Franklin will always be controversial, but never "dull". Another book to peruse is titled FART PROUDLY, also a Franklin work.
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