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The AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN [Paperback]

Benjamin Franklin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)


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Book Description

July 1, 1997 0684841967 978-0684841960 Reprint
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''Franklin's is one of the greatest autobiographies in literature, and towers over other autobiographies as Franklin towered over other men.'' --William Dean Howells

''The most widely read autobiography ever written by an American. It has served many Americans as it may have served Franklin - to define what it meant, what it had meant, and what it ought to mean to be an American.'' --Edmund S. Morgan, emeritus professor of history, Yale University --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Publisher

Also available by Edmund S. Morgan: Benjamin Franklin --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684841967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684841960
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (461 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,407,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
589 of 597 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original American Dream September 25, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a little presumptuous to write a "review" of a book as historically important as this, so I'll just give a few reasons why you should read it.

It's well-written and engaging, even 200+ (nearing 300+; Franklin was born in 1706) years later. It stops in 1760, well before his involvement with the Revolution, but it covers in detail his youth, apprenticeships, the formation of his philosophy and ideals, and his path from poor roots to business and social success -- the first telling of the American Dream, the idea that a poor young man could Find His Fortune in the New World through enterprise, wisdom, and work.

There is a high degree of self-hagiography here, and it would be amusing to tally up (for example) how many times Franklin praises himself vs. how many times he advises on the virtue of humility. He smooths over controversial topics like his illegitimate son, he doesn't mention his membership in the Freemasons, etc. The construction is also a bit rambling ("Then I did this thing. Next, I did another thing. Then I did a third thing"), but Franklin simply did so many interesting things -- even in this short slice of his life -- that the book is interesting despite that. There's a great deal of discussion on his scientific and inventive accomplishments, and he talks at length about his development of his own personal moral code and how he achieved business success (along with Franklin's Personal Method You Can Use for Self-Improvement -- in some ways, this is the first self-help book!)

All in all, this is very much worth reading, and gives a compelling picture of Franklin's life and times.
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126 of 135 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle September 9, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
While reading "An Incomplete Education" I read that this was the greatest autobiography ever written. Out of curiosity I purchased it and read it and the recommendation was right on. This book was very intriguing and captivating.

The only disappointing part was that the American Revolution and Benjamin Franklin's part was not detailed.

Benjamin Franklin's list of virtues and his application to his life were amazing. Oh that young men today would seek to be so virtuous!

Great read.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story of a great man. October 3, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is actually less an autobiography in the traditional sense we see today and more of a story told in two sections. The first is a letter to his son, while the second part he seemed to have been encouraged to write by a friend. The first letter is the story from his birth to his arrival in PA, while the send part picks up where the first leaves off and continues until just before our Revolution. But the result is the same - enlightenment about how important this man was.

The prose in this book is, as you'd expect, 18th century so you get plenty of "thee" and "thy" but not to distraction. It is a compelling read and difficult to put down but the language gets tedious. As you can tell by my rating this does not diminish the quality of the book but may affect some potential readers.

In all it's definitely worth your time and effort to understand one of the founding geniuses of our country. Really, this man is a true American hero. Where would we be without a free press, libraries and many of his other contributions? He was a skilled negotiator very much in the right place at the right time.

Still, it would be all the more satisfying to hear his side of the events of the Revolution. I wonder at the gaping hole presented by this. Perhaps he was afraid of arrest or worse? One is left imagining whether there would even be a United States were it not for BF.

It would be interesting if other readers might share other biographical recommendations, if any, that could shed light on the latter part of Mr. Franklin's life. This book is an essential first step towards a complete understanding of one of our founding fathers.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best how-to manual to daily living May 26, 2007
By TG
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ben Franklin is the most amazing figure of American revolution. The essence of American life, a hero, a political figure, a self-made man, a scientist, a diplomat - turns out to be just a guy next door, a neighbor.

I got this book on audio from a local library - and spent 6.5 wonderful hours listening to a friend, a teacher, a wise man. He is entertaining - but serious at the same time, he goes into great details of his dealings with people, business partners, politicians - but is never boring.

Anyone who wants to learn how to connect with people, to become a better person, to grow a business and wealth, to be a good friend - and more - should read this book.

I would recommend an audio format if you have choices - it really turns it into a conversation with Ben Franklin.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incomplete American Life August 24, 2005
Format:Hardcover
Well, Ben Franklin's life was not incomplete, but his autobiography is. This is partly because Franklin never intended his book for publication.

He was writing it for the benefit of his son - partly as a guide for life, and partly as a family history. Indeed, on the first page, Franklin writes that he has always enjoyed hearing stories about his ancestors, and hopes his son will be as interested to learn of his father's life. However, after Franklin's break with his son, he continues to write, but now it is for the benefit of all of his ancestors. Franklin's disagreement with his son William is just one of many details that are missing from this book.

I was always interested in Franklin and it had long been a goal of mine to read his autobiography. Had I known that the years 1758-1790 were not covered, which were probably the most important and influential of his life, I might not have read it. And that would have been a mistake.

For although the major events of the 1770s and 1780s are missing, like the American Revolution, the Treaty of Paris, and the Constitutional Convention, there is so much material about the early years of Franklin's life here that it is still a worthwhile book. Who knew Franklin was practically a champion swimmer, for example? We often think of Franklin as the elder statesman of the Founding Fathers, as indeed he was. Franklin was born 26 years before George Washington. But in this book we see Franklin as a boy and then a young man, whole periods of his life that are forgotten when one thinks of his later, great contributions.

Thankfully, Franklin documents much of it, and it makes for terrific reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great reading
Published 2 days ago by Rosemary A.
2.0 out of 5 stars The read was okay. The format was hard to ...
The read was okay. The format was hard to use on the Kindle. An early attempt at an ebook I suspicion.
Published 4 days ago by rjon
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
okay
Published 5 days ago by bianca whalen
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius!
History, from the genius who made most of America's!
Published 5 days ago by John Chester
5.0 out of 5 stars great book for all ages to read
Wish I would have read this when I was 20 instead of 55. Would have done things differently. Great book.
Published 10 days ago by Enrico Cordoba
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
A great book that is free is the best. These books are great. Worth reading for nostalgia purposes. Why not? I actually enjoyed reading this.
Published 10 days ago by blapierre
5.0 out of 5 stars Very educational
Franklin 's way of life presents compelling examples of behaviors that motivated me to consider modelling.
Published 10 days ago by JPV
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
Very interesting. Uses the language of the day. Good reading about an important person. Good value.
Published 11 days ago by clockwise
3.0 out of 5 stars Ben
i had gotten this book for my husbsnd I didnot read it. Not sure if he liked it or not
Published 12 days ago by starkeysloan
4.0 out of 5 stars Insights into Benjamin Franklin
Light reading by the man himself, Starts as he goes to work for his brother. His exploits as a shop owner, inventor, writer, local councilman, ombudsman, diplomat gives you some... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Crabby
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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, 1996 Dover Edition
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