Who could have imagined that Benjamin Franklin, the genial inventor and policy-maker who gained international popularity during the Revolutionary War was found by some to be "foul-mouthed" and "a very uneasy Spirit"? Robert Middlekauff, a historian at the University of California, Berkeley, examines Franklin's long battle not only with Thomas Penn, son of the founder of Pennsylvania, but John Adams, a bright lawyer who grew to hate Franklin, primarily out of jealousy over Franklin's celebrity. Though Franklin's attempts to have Penn stripped of his charter powers backfired, fortunately for Americans, he and Adams were able to rise above animosity for the good of the country.
From Library Journal
Middlekauff (Glorious Cause, LJ 3/15/82) here gives a very readable history of America's first diplomat. Franklin acquired political enemies, Middlekauff suggests, because he was brilliant, annoying those less brilliant; because he spoke of and tried (less successfully) to lead a moral life, irritating the amoral; and because he fell short of his own moral yardstick, offending those as pious as he. Another basis for the enmity directed at him is that Franklin, a tradesman, moved for much of his life in genteel society, earning the contempt of Pennsylvania's proprietor, Thomas Penn, and other English lords. Franklin's moral failures are glossed over, presumably because those of his enemies were worse. Although books have already been written about Franklin's Tory son William, the present work might have been that much better if the author had devoted more than the last two pages to the family. Recommended for all those interested in this Founding Father.Robert C. Moore, DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svcs., N. Billerica, Mass.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.