- File Size: 53933 KB
- Print Length: 352 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062880152
- Publisher: William Morrow (February 11, 2020)
- Publication Date: February 11, 2020
- Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07RNL7LY5
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,524 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Franklin & Washington: The Founding Partnership Kindle Edition
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"America has always been a team project, and its Founding co-captains are Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. But until now, curiously, there has not been a joint biography worthy of these two great Captains America. Edward J. Larson finally delivers just what we need: a crisp narrative crackling with great stories and deep insights. Equally fun and wise a rare combination Franklin & Washington is an indispensable book about our two indispensable Founding Fathers."--"Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, Yale University, and author of America's Constitution"
"In 1790, John Adams joked that the history of the Revolution would eventually boil down to Washington and Franklin doing pretty much everything. This was not as much of a joke as Adams imagined: Edward J. Larson's elegantly written dual biography reveals that the partnership of Franklin and Washington was indispensable to the success of the Revolution."--"Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning author"
About the Author
Edward J. Larson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, a legal scholar, and a New York Times bestselling author. His book Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in HIstory. He is a university professor of history and holds the Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law at Pepperdine University.
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If you want a quick and easy recap of the birth of our nation I recommend this book highly.
It is impossible to understate the significance that these two men had on history and everyone living in the West today. The revolutionary period is a fascinating time and I'll always encourage anyone to read more about it. This dual biography compares and contrasts the easy-going, bon-vivant Franklin with the stern military commander, Washington. The most noticeable difference between the two was obviously their views on slavery, with Washington, unfortunately, supporting that abominable system. Both men though had uncompromising views on the importance of liberty and were irreplaceable figures in the formation of America.
I give the book four stars only because it is in a category that competes with so many other amazing biographies and histories. It's a wonderful supplement. One thing that does set this book apart though is the focus on the relationship between the two men. Also, it is fairly short and an easy read Definitely recommend.
Indeed, one might wonder if our country would have been founded at all without Franklin and Washington, given their central roles in so many aspects of that period of history. In the first section of the book, Larson discusses the French and Indian War and other military actions that preceded the Revolutionary War in some detail. We all know of Washington’s participation, but I had not realized that Franklin led the Pennsylvania militia during the French and Indian War. The second section takes the reader through the Revolutionary War, where Franklin’s diplomatic success was crucial to Washington’s military accomplishments. And in the final section, we learn about the meetings that produced the US Constitution, and how Franklin and Washington pragmatically helped guide the representatives of the then-sovereign states to overcome their significant differences and form a more perfect union.
Within the broader picture of the founding of the United States, Larson paints wonderful portraits of Franklin and Washington’s contrasting personalities and styles and gives interesting information on their early lives that we don’t usually get in history class, e.g., Washington was not always the aristocratic plantation owner we associate with Mount Vernon, and both men in today’s terms might be called real estate speculators. This is mostly in the context of their historical importance; for example, there is little about their marriages or children. Despite their differences in age, background, and personality (Larson calls Washington the “father figure” and Ben Franklin the “favorite uncle”.) and their geographic separation in an age when both transportation and communication were so difficult, he emphasizes their long friendship and stresses that they were “friends first and, unlike John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, never rivals.”
It is not surprising that a historian of Larson’s stature would make use of primary sources, and the book is enlivened by quotes from many of the famous figures of the day. This modern reader especially enjoyed the contrast between the more formal style used in that period and the poor spelling that came from the common lack of much formal education. I was surprised to hear that Franklin had more formal education than Washington, and Washington shows his lack of education when he complains that his troops during the French and Indian War “are of those loose, Idle Persons that are quite destitute of House, and Home, and, I may truely say, many of them of Cloaths.”
Some of their contemporaries apparently felt Franklin’s and Washington’s contributions were overrated. John Adams complained that history would say that “Dr Franklins electrical Rod, Smote the Earth and out Spring General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his Rod—and thence forward these two conducted all the Policy Negotiations Legislation and War.” Ed Larson is too good a historian to foster such exaggeration, but he leaves the reader with a real appreciation for the accomplishments of these two remarkable men.
My thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an advance review copy of this book.