Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

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Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World examines the many facets of America’s most extraordinary founding father. Politician, diplomat, scientist, printer, and civic improver, Franklin influenced every aspect of American life, from his own time to the present. This book, designed to accompany the traveling Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary exhibition celebrating Franklin’s 300th birthday, includes essays by ten prominent scholars that offer an overview of Franklin’s life and  cover the full range of his interests and achievements, illustrated by more than 265 color images—portraits, manuscripts, drawings, maps, paintings, engravings, and a plethora of Franklin's possessions, from teacups to printing equipment. This comprehensive guide, combining new scholarship with unique images—many of which have never been exhibited before—will be a must-have for anyone interested in Franklin.

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Editorial Reviews

Walter Isaacson
“[Benjamin Franklin] is the founding father who winks at us. . . . We can easily imagine having a beer with him after work, showing him how to use a Palm Pilot, sharing the business plan for a new venture, or discussing Bill Clinton’s foibles and George Bush’s foreign policy. . . . Each new look at him reflects and refracts the nation’s changing values.”—Walter Isaacson, from the Introduction
Book Page - Alison Hood
“A wonderful collection of informative essays and fascinating images, a worthy literary companion to the exhibit in her charge."
Library Journal
This book is being published as a companion to the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary exhibition, which will travel to Philadelphia, St. Louis, Houston, Denver, Atlanta, and then Paris between 2005 and 2008. Editor Talbott is associate director of the tercentenary and chief curator of the exhibit, which celebrates Franklin's many accomplishments in the areas of science, politics, social reform, and domestic life. The volume is copiously illustrated with items that will be on display and features ten essays by Franklin scholars, including Walter Isaacson ("What Benjamin Franklin Means for Our Times"), E. Philip Krider ("Benjamin Franklin's Science"), and Talbot herself ("Benjamin Franklin at Home"). Overall, the essays are positive, but Emma J. Lapsansky-Werner's "At the End, an Abolitionist?" does critically examine Franklin's ambivalent relationship with slavery. He both condoned it (he was a lifetime slave owner and benefited by printing ads for runaway slaves) and spoke out against it as a member of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. Although a companion volume, this book stands on its own. Recommended for libraries with a special interest in Franklin; libraries wanting a more conventional biography may want to consider Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ., PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300107999
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/11/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 10.36 (w) x 10.04 (h) x 1.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Page Talbott is associate director of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and chief curator of the exhibition Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, which will travel throughout the United States and to France from 2005 to 2008. Contributors: Ellen R. Cohn, James N.Green, Walter Isaacson, E. Philip Krider, Emma J. Lapsansky-Werner, J. A. Leo Lemay, Robert Middlekauff, Edmund S. Morgan, Billy G. Smith, Page Talbott

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