Benjamin Franklin / Edition 1by Edmund S. Morgan
Pub. Date: 08/10/2003
Publisher: Yale University Press
New York Times Bestseller A Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a bestselling author, the country's first postmaster… See more details below
New York Times Bestseller A Finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most remarkable figure in American history: the greatest statesman of his age, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the American republic. He was also a pioneering scientist, a bestselling author, the country's first postmaster general, a printer, a bon vivant, a diplomat, a ladies' man, and a moralistand the most prominent celebrity of the eighteenth century. Franklin was, however, a man of vast contradictions, as Edmund Morgan demonstrates in this brilliant biography. A reluctant revolutionary, Franklin had desperately wished to preserve the British Empire, and he mourned the break even as he led the fight for American independence. Despite his passion for science, Franklin viewed his groundbreaking experiments as secondary to his civic duties. And although he helped to draft both the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, he had personally hoped that the new American government would take a different shape. Unraveling the enigma of Franklin's character, Morgan shows that he was the rare individual who consistently placed the public interest before his own desires. Written by one of our greatest historians, Benjamin Franklin offers a provocative portrait of America's most extraordinary patriot. Edmund S. Morgan is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University. He has written more than a dozen books including Inventing the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in England and America, which won the Bancroft Prize, and American Slavery, American Freedom, which won the Francis Parkman Prize and the Albert J. Beveridge Award. Cited as "one of America's most distinguished historians," Morgan was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2000.
- Yale University Press
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- New Edition
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Table of Contents
|1||An Exciting World||1|
|2||"A Dangerous Man"||47|
|3||An Empire of Englishmen||71|
|5||The Importance of Opinion||145|
|8||Representing a Nation of States||242|
|9||A Difficult Peace||272|
|Some of the People in Franklin's Life||317|
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Before I read this book, I had no idea what Franklin had done. This author explains everything that Benjamin has done and all of his accomplishments. The more of this book you read, the more you will understand. Morgan made all of his statements very clear for his readers. The thing I did not like about this book is that the author(Morgan) does not tell you where Ben was born, his parents names, or if he had any siblings. To me, those are huge details that needed to be included. If you want to know about Franklin's personal life, then this is not the right book for you. This author does not take the time to tell you many if any of Benjamin's personal life facts. This author tried to stick with the main things Ben done in his life. How he was a typist and a lot of other accomplishments as well. If that is what you are looking for then this is a great book for you.
Morgan has done an outstanding job of presenting Franklin as truly one of the greatest founding Fathers. By showing Franklin as the well round Intellectual that he was. Morgan shows the world as it truly was in the 18th century,and how Franklin and the Colonies,shaped their new country. Keeping us inside the mind of the man who was a giant to both America and Europe, we are able to see Franklin move to the cause of freedom and help shape it. More than other Franklin biography's this book is about his place in the American journey to be coming a Country, while still showing his place in Science and Society in his time. Perhaps the only founding Father who saw the tragedy that slavery would be for the future of America, and tried to change, that future. A great read on many levels.
Franklin at first a stranger to me, and now he is man that I now know as a scientist and a statesman. Edmund Morgan I believe wrote this book to tell us more about Franklin¿s political side. The author does this very well. He explains his duties and what he did when he was either in our country or in one of Europe¿s countries. As an author he got his points across clearly. Everything Edmund Morgan says you will get. The trick is though you may not get it right away, but you well get it as read on and learn more about Franklin. The need for a book like this was needed, but I am not sure that he needed to get into such detail. The book to me was okay. It is a book that does not explain his personal life a lot, but more of his public life. The most you will get if you are looking for his personal life is that he had many friends in the world. And even though he had so many friends he always would write them, no matter what. The author tells the story of Benjamin Franklin¿s political life very well and personal not so good. When I say he doesn¿t explain his personal life could I mean that very much. He doesn¿t tell you where he was born, parents name, or if he had any brothers or sisters. He doesn¿t also talk about his wives or kids that much. I think the only timed he mentioned anything about his kids is when his son took over a print shop. The author uses very little pictures to describe anything. The only pictures are of course paintings. In some cases he even uses unfinished paintings. The suck part though is that only two out of the maybe 15 are pictures of Benjamin Franklin. The rest are Benjamin Franklin¿s mistresses or friends. To this book I had very few personal connections. If I did have a connection is was emotionally. I never had done any of the people in the book did. Now to get to the part were I talk good about the book. One thing that I did really like about the book is how the author would keep you guessing what he was going to explain about Benjamin Franklin next. Another good thing he did was divide the book up. I liked how he would have chapters pertaining to just a couple years. Another thing though that I did not like is how he would not explain current events. When I was in the part of the book near the American Revolution nothing was said about it. Edmund Morgan would kind of give you hints about current events but he never just said it. This sometimes really irritated me. Another thing that irritated me was that he did talk about the Declaration of Independence. He also did not talk about how Franklin died. He just never used dates and he just used how old Franklin was which ways annoying at times. So in the end I did enjoy the book. There were just some parts that annoyed me. My favorite part of the book is when Franklin was in another country. Another one of my favorite parts of the book is when it is beginning to wrap up. Because that is when it is talking about his retired life in Pennsylvania. My least favorite part of the book is when they are in the time period of the American Revolution. I didn¿t like it because during that time it was like no one could trust another person. It also just felt like everyone was stabbing each other in the back. Another reason why I don¿t like is because Franklin had some friends that turned on him. What I mean is that they said they believed in the American cause but then they didn¿t. Besides those people also tried to get Ben Franklin in trouble. They tried to get him in trouble with the British officials that were in America. If I could change anything in the book it would to be to have the author talk more about Franklin¿s personal life. At times the author will bore you, but he will never anger you, but he will most definitely confuse you. I would recommend this book to people who would want to know about his political life. I think you would have to be in high school or above to understand this book, it¿s not that he uses too many big words or anything.
Benjamin Franklin is my favorite historical personality, and yet I found Mr. Morgan's book a bit dry and academic for my taste. I respect Mr. Morgan's analysis, but as a biography, the book lacks too many details about Franklin's personal life to be very engaging. If you are going to read one biography on Franklin, I would make it Walter Isaacson's. You will walk away with a better understanding of who benjamin Franklin was.
This effort does convey valuable information in a short book. However, this biography is poorly written and does not engage the reader. With such a rich life and historical context to draw from, I expected much better. My general impression was that this book seemed like a quick attempt to get a book on Franklin out on the shelves: significant typographical errors and childish composition throughout was just disappointing. I hope Edmund Morris will turn his attention to Franklin after he finishes with Teddy Roosevelt, for Morgan is a poor substitute.
I have to confess that I was almost totally ignorant about Benjamin Franklin before picking up this lovely book by Edmund Morgan. My knowledge of Franklin stopped with the basics--trained as a printer in colonial Boston, made his way to Philadelphia while still very young, published Poor Richard's Almanac, proved that lighting was electrical, represented the American colonies in England and newly independent America in France. In slightly more than 300 elegantly written pages, Yale historian Morgan transforms this skeleton into a complex, living breathing man. Although Morgan based this brief history on a wealth of primary documents, he tells Franklin's story effortlessly. I felt as though I had taken a long walk with a very interesting companion, and come away with a whole new understanding of a brilliant and ultimately enigmatic figure. Morgan devotes most of the book to uncovering Franklin's central role in the long series of calculations and miscalculations that pushed thirteen loyal and tractable British colonies into revolution and forged them into the United States. Franklin, we learn, was there at every step, usually behind the scenes, but always extremely influential, a potent catalyst to one of history's great moments. It's as fascinating to follow the evolution of Franklin's own thoughts and feelings about the British Empire (which he loved) and the future of America as it is to follow the fateful steps in Britain and the colonies that led to the American revolution. Just one caveat--Franklin's scientific accomplishments are mentioned now and again, but largely as a side issue. In this, Morgan seems to be following Franklin's own lead; we learn that he viewed the scientific accomplishments that won him universal acclaim as less important than his far-sighted, patient, often personally painful political work. It's hard to imagine a more readable, edifying or enjoyable introduction to Benjamin Franklin. I recommend it highly. Robert Adler Author of Science Firsts: From the Creation of Science to the Science of Creation (Wiley, 2002).