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Franklin: Writings (Library of America) Hardcover – September 1, 1987

4.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 37)
  • Hardcover: 1632 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (September 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450295
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many of Benjamin Franklin's biographers follow up their treatments of his life and work with an edited collection of his writings, as if to concede that he is his own best presenter. Any reader interested in Franklin should therefore set the biographies aside for a time and turn first to this superb Library of America compilation of Franklin's writings. Spanning his life from his early humorous writings (penned at the age of 16) to letters he wrote in the last year of his life (at 84), it is the single best, because most comprehensive, introduction to Franklin.
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.
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Format: Paperback
"Benjamin Franklin" is a wonderfully written biography of perhaps the greatest American who ever lived. Author Carl Van Doren presents a rich and detailed portrait of Franklin - printer, writer, philosopher, scientist, inventor, politician, statesman, and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

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!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Library of America should be commended for preserving the works of Benjamin Franklin. This is the finest compilation of Franklin's writings still in print.
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.
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