- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (June 1, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140152601
- ISBN-13: 978-0140152609
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.6 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #144,212 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Benjamin Franklin Paperback – June 1, 1991
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Top Customer Reviews
Carl Van Doren ended his classic biography of Franklin by describing him as "a harmonious human multitude." The phrase has become shorthand for those who try to encompass Franklin's activities as printer, journalist, polemicist, political thinker, writer, economist, demographer, scientist (or "natural philosopher" in the 18th-century phrase), lobbyist, diplomat, and sage. More recent Fra! nklin scholars, such as Esmond Wright and Robert Middlekauff, concede his complexity, but doubt the harmony holding together his various interests, activities, priorities, friendships, and hostilities; they also note that Franklin's genial exterior cloaked a massive and implacable egotism and an unsuspected capacity for strong and often bitter emotion.
All these facets of Franklin emerge from this superbly-edited volume. J. A. Leo Lemay, one of the nation's leading scholars of Franklin's life and work, has produced a volume fully worthy of Franklin and the Library of America series; it will be indispensable to all future students of Benjamin Franklin, of colonial and Revolutionary America, and of the foundations of American literature, science, politics, and government. -- Richard B.Read more ›
By tracing the major influences on Franklin, and the key events of his life, Van Doren presents this self-educated genius as the apotheosis of the 18th century "Enlightened" man. Imbued with an insatiable intellectual appetite, a keen scientific mind, a high sense of morality, and a fervent patriotism, he was shrewd, wise, witty, and always confident in his own limitless abilities. The author describes in detail the great events of Franklin's life - his youth and young adulthood as a printer and writer of Poor Richard's Almamack; the philosopher, scientist and inventor of note; Postmaster General for Pennsylvania, and later for all the colonies; representative of the American colonies to Great Britain at the time of the American Revolution; signer of the Declaration of Independence; U.S. Ambassador to France after the Revolution; and signer of the U.S. Constitution.
As good a biography as this is, "Benjamin Franklin" is also outstanding history. Van Doren skillfully "paints" Franklin's portrait against the backdrop of the tremendous social ferment, scientific awakening, and tumultuous political events which occurred during the second half of the 18th century. I gained not only a fuller understanding of Franklin's life and great genius, but also a greater appreciation of the times in which he lived.
"Benjamin Franklin" is written with grace, clarity and obviously great scholarship. Winner of the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for biography, it is a brilliant masterpiece - one of the best biographies of any person I've ever read!
The book is organized and presented in chronological order. The first section contains Franklin's writings between 1722-1726. This section contains the famous "Silence Dogood" works. The second section consists of writings between 1726-1757. This section contains the "Busy Body" pieces and the writings from the Philadelphia Gazette, amongst other works. The third section consists of writings which date between 1757-1775. The fourth section consists of writings between 1776-1785. The fifth section consists of writings between 1785-1790. And the final two sections are "Poor Richard's Almanack" and "The Autobiography."
Moreover, the sections contain personal letters between Franklin and other notable men such as David Hume, Lord Kames, John Pringle, Benjamin Rush, etc. Also, religious writings, philosophy, political writings and the like are present in this single volume. In fact, there is about 1500 pages of just Franklin's writings. Additionally, in the back of the book, there is a very detailed chronology of Franklin's life describing notable things which occurred between his birth and death.
This is a great text for those who are wanting a very detailed volume of Franklin's writings. However, it is also a great compilation for those who simply want to sit down and get a sample of the works of Franklin to find out what type of man he was, what he believed, what he taught, his sense of humor and the like.
This book has been one of the best investments that I have made in my collection of American Revolutionary (Founders) history. I highly recommend this work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
nicely written book although a bias shows through but who doesn't have some bias. worth readingPublished 4 months ago by Daymon W. Nicholas
good book to have although harder to read it contains a lot of information to help the amateur scholar with research and understanding of the subject.Published 4 months ago by Daymon W. Nicholas
Ben Franklin was awesome
Carl Van Doren was a great uncle of mine
Need I say more?
I was truly sorry when the book when I finished this book. I wish Amazon would put this book out on Kindle.Published 10 months ago by L. Topper
I haven't finished this book yet but everything done by Carl Van Doren I have liked.Published 12 months ago by Sandra Cohen
Nice bedtime read. Can put it down anytime. Like to read him think.Published 16 months ago by MikeW
I really do love this book. It was passed on to me at my brother's death. However, I lost that copy over the years (70 or so), and was delighted to find it again on Amazon. Read morePublished on December 4, 2013 by joyce29
Not only was the order shipped fast but it was exactly what they advertised and in great condition. What's more it was inexpensive for the quality. Read morePublished on October 9, 2013 by Jonathan Taylor
The reviews on the original dust cover are right on par. The Author does a fantastic job keeping his filthy opinion from the pages of this book. Read morePublished on September 18, 2012 by Randy