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Poor Richard's Lament: A Most Timely Tale Hardcover – January 17, 2012

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


At a time when a host of economic and social ills is causing many of us to contemplate a world beyond materialism and narcissism, Poor Richard's Lament juices up the process with an ever-building sense of moral urgency. Where to begin to sing the praises of this singular work?... A grand and gorgeous book! The pleasures of prose, passion, and intelligence pervade these pages. --Michael Zuckerman, University of Pennsylvania

A re-imagining of Benjamin Franklin you will not soon forget. --Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Written with uncommon love for and attention to language, story, and character; nearly every page sparkles with insight and wisdom. --Ban Nyo Sho Shin, Buddhist monk

About the Author

Tom Fitzgerald experienced a Huckleberry Finn childhood near the confluence of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River before undertaking formal studies in physics, mathematics, law, industrial management, and English. He has served as a door-to-door salesman of home-study courses, a vocational counselor for adults and children with developmental disabilities, a stockbroker, the assistant to the president of a large healthcare corporation, a lobbyist, a technical writer, and a corporate manager. In the latter two capacities, his employers have included AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, NEC, IBM/Lotus Development and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Tom served as a Navy UDT/SEAL during the Vietnam era, and has swum several long distances, including across the eastern end of Lake Ontario. Once also an avid runner, Tom ran the Boston Marathon three times before a fall on black ice abruptly ended a lifelong addiction to endorphins. He and his wife of 44 years, a marriage and family therapist, live in New England. They have three grown sons and three grandsons.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Hobblebush Books; First edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098459213X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984592135
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,314,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Viviane Crystal VINE VOICE on December 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Expediency is the heart of Tom Fitzgerald's foray into the imaginary life of Benjamin Franklin. For two hundred years have passed since the death of this notable American hero, years that Ben has had to pen the story of his life and include all of his wrongdoings. But Ben has left out quite a bit, and now he stands before his colleagues, now Judges, Alexander Wedderburn, John Adams and the Reverend William Smith. In multiple scenes that almost seem like Scrooge being judged in the well-known A Christmas Carol, heavenly swirls of colors, smoke, and lightning flashes accompany each new revelation that surprisingly damns this historical giant!

For as we proceed, we come to learn that while Ben lived by the virtues of Industry, Frugality, Resolution, Order, Cleanliness, Silence, Chastity, Sincerity, Temperance, Justice, Moderation, and Humility, Expediency was forefront in the way he treated his family. A fine balance of humor and tragedy fill each story as we learn of Ben's abandonment of his wife for years at a time, a sickly woman whose greatest yearning was for the return of her beloved husband. When Ben turned from loyalty to King George III of England, he unfortunately demanded his son William do the same and disowned him as a son after he refused to do so. He who taught his son to always be loyal betrayed both King and progeny forever!

Fitzgerald is ruthless the way he has the Judges present scenes of Ben and other citizen's slaves being ordered around, beaten, and even tortured to death for amusement. He who spoke about the equality of all denies both the equality of women and slaves.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is one of the better American novels I've ever read. Yes, I am the author's son, so you'll consider the source. But I don't think I'm biased. Tom Fitzgerald has published three other novels, all of which I've read, and I don't rank them in the first tier of American literature. This one I do.

It's probably the character of Ben Franklin that I like best about Poor Richard's Lament. Fitzgerald's Ben is utterly real, and becomes heartbreakingly beloved to the reader as his journey unfolds, both because of and despite his three-dimensionality. Perhaps the second most notable virtue of the novel is its deeply affecting moral urgency. The stakes of this tale are as high as the stakes of human society A.D. 2012, and the reader feels it.

Poor Richard's Lament is also a delicious feast of language. Every single sentence is polished to a high sheen. Fitzgerald's prose is another's poetry. Lastly, if this novel had nothing else going for it besides its particular manifestation of the author's imagination, which begins with the most compelling vision of an after-world I've encountered in literature and continues through a Dickensian tying-together of disparate narrative threads at the tale's denouement, it would still qualify as a triumph.

As it is, this masterpiece has not just that but everything going for it.
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Format: Hardcover
Poor Richard's Lament is a new 600 page novel from the pen of novelist Tom Fitzgerald. The author is a renaissance man who has expertise in many fields: physics, mathematics, law, English Literature and philosophical inquiry. Fitzgerald has served as a Navy Seal, raced in the Boston Marathon and written several novels. This book is his Magnus opus. It is a magisterial inquiry into the life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, one of the most complex figures in all the span of American history.
The premise of the book: Dr. Franklin has been confined for over two centuries in a tiny apartment in the Plantation of the Unrepentant. He is accused of hypocrisy and is finally given his day in judicial court proceeding. He is quizzed by John Adams the starchy puritan who never warmed up to Franklin; the Rev. William Smith of Boston and the Rev. William Smith, who disdains Franklin's agnostic belief system.
Franklin is found to be a founder who has committed many follies in his long life. Franklin was born in Boston in 1706. Ben ran away from home at an early age. During his long life he was a renaissance man of genius who accomplished much. He was a printer, newspaper editor, musician, painter, politician, scientist (his famous kite flying experiment proved that lightning and electricity were the same), diplomat, wit, essayist and bon vivant in the sumptuous salons of Parisian aristocrats. Some say he was also a "babe magnet." His Poor Richard's Almanac was widely printed and quoted in colonial British America. Franklin worked with Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence; served as the United States' first ambassador to France (where he wangled Louis XVI to help fund the American Revolution, thereby bankrupting France and leading to the French Revolution of 1789).
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Poor Richard's Lament could not be a more timely, eloquent, and capable invitation for humanity in general and Americans in particular to re-discover what brings real peace and happiness into our lives: making it our top priority to be good to one another, regardless of the cost to the ambitions and appetites of the ego. America in particular has made the latter its chief priority, which is in no small measure why we find our nation so lost and troubled in present times, and we took this path in large part due to the seminal influence of founding fathers such as Benjamin Franklin.

In this novel, Franklin's life is examined in extraordinary detail to reveal the ways in which a man viewed as a high achiever and example of the American Spirit nevertheless made many painful mistakes when in came to the service of his fellow human beings. He is given the chance at redemption, to which he applies all of the wit, drive, and creativity he so often misapplied in his former life, and thus provides a new example for America to follow. He dispenses with the mindset of Industry, Frugality, and Expediency, and ushers in the hope of a new age of Compassion, Generosity, and Understanding.

PRL is written with uncommon love for and attention to language, story, and character, and nearly every page sparkles with insight and wisdom. Rarely will you witness a character so exquisitely rendered as Benjamin Franklin is in these pages, and his palpable, charismatic presence lends the book an authority which will penetrate the heart and challenge the reader to re-examine their own life--and they will be the better for it.
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