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Benjamin Franklin: Autobiography, Poor Richard, and Later Writings (Library of America) Hardcover – October 6, 2005

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About the Author

Benjamin Franklin, statesman, philosopher, and man of letters, was born in Boston in 1706 of Protestant parents. He entered Boston Grammar School when he was eight and later attended George Brown Ell’s school. When he was twelve his father apprenticed him to his half-brother James as a printer. James was later the publisher of the New England Courant, where Franklin’s first articles, The Dogood Papers, were published before he was seventeen. He went to Philadelphia in 1723 and pursued his trade of printer. He was befriended by William Keith, Governor of Pennsylvania, who offered to help the young man get started in business. Franklin left for England, where he hoped to arrange for the purchase of printing equipment. Arriving in London in 1724, he was soon deserted by Keith, and again turned to printing for a livelihood. His privately printed Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain (1725) introduced him to leading Deists and other intellectuals in London. A year later, he returned to Philadelphia, and by 1730 he had been appointed public printer for Pennsylvania. In 1731 he established the first circulation library in the United States; in 1743-44, The American Philosophical Society. In 1748 he retired from the trade of printer but continued to advise and back his partner and to draw profit from the business. Poor Richard’s Almanack was his most spectacular success as a publisher, having gone through numerous editions and been translated in many languages. During the next thirty-five years he devoted himself largely to politics and diplomacy, but still wrote and engaged in scientific ventures. He resigned as Minister to France in 1785, returned to America, and was elected President of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Still concerned with the rights of the individual, he published papers encouraging the abolition of slavery. He died in Philadelphia in 1790.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; 1997 edition (October 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883011531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883011536
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This fine volume from the wonderful Library of America, is a collection of the great Benjamin Franklin's later writings. It is the second volume of what used to be a single huge book from the LOA. This volume begins with Franklin's letters from his time as a diplomat in London, and then his pamphlets, political satires, and other writings when he represented our Revolutionary Government from 1776-1785 from Paris at the doomed court of Louis VI. His writings from the Constitutional Convention and writings from Philadelphia after his return to the United States are also included. Probably the most popular items included will be the Preface and Maxims of the Poor Richard's Almanac and the FOUR parts of his autobiography. Franklin is simply an amazing man.

Benjamin Franklin is one of the great icons of the American Founding. He is truly one of the essential men who built our nation and deserves every praise we can heap on him. When we see images of the founders, they are all shown as old men, not how old they were in 1776. Franklin was really a generation older than most of the firebrands who led the Revolution. He was seventy when he signed the Declaration of Independence (John Adams was 41, George Washington 44, and Thomas Jefferson 33 on July 4, 1776) and eighty-one when he signed our Constitution as a member of the delegation from Pennsylvania. He was an amazing man. He was a successful printer, inventor, philanthropist, revolutionary, diplomat, and all around student of the world.

This book is interesting to dip into and read just those portions that interest you, as well as reading its more than 800 pages front to back. It has great notes on the text that provide contextual and translation help as well as sources, a most interesting chronology of Franklin's long and productive life, and an index.

This certainly is a must have for your shelf on the history of America's Founding.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a compilation of Franklin's Letters (from London 1757-75. from Paris 1776-85, and Philadelphia 1785-90), Poor Richard's Almanack (1733-58), his 4 part Autobiography (part 1: from 7/30-8/13/1771, part 2: 1784, part 3: 1788-5/1789, & part 4: 11/13/1789), a Chronology, Notes, and an Index. The letters were extremely interesting, not just as context for the period, but because they demonstrate the situation before, during, and after the Revolutionary War a well as Franklin's many roles during his lifetime. The Chronology helps to put all of this into perspective. The 1st part of the Autobiography reads like a novel and was quite enjoyable. The later parts went into much detail of a limited number of activities and, unfortunately were never completed and didn't cover his activities in France. Poor Richards' Almanack was delightful in its later expositions of scientific advances etc. and, of course in its plethora of pithy sayings, maxims, and observations--though these were not just in Poor Richard's but exist throughout the entire volume. The Notes are particularly helpful by translating the many Latin expressions within the text.

Some of these are political:
p. 110: The wisest councils are liable to be misled, especially in matters remote from their inspection.
p. 553: Laws like Cobwebs catch small flies, great ones break through before your eyes.
p. 510: Pardoning the bad is injuring the good.
p. 537 Ignorance leads me into a party, and shame keeps them from getting out again.
p. 546: Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.

Some are psychological:
p. 357: We are men, all subject to errors.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have all of these writings in various volumes,but I like having them all in one. Makes for a good gift to someone to whom you are introducing Franklin
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Format: Hardcover
The Library of America puts out the original writings of the American founding fathers and other important figures of our country. It is one of the most valuable set of books. This book is in excellent condition and helps complete my entire set. Thank you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book! Love it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent
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