Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: Benjamin Franklin

Title Benjamin Franklin
Author Edmund S. Morgan
Rating ****
Tags non-fiction, biography, benjamin franklin 

Morgan has spent a long time reading all of Franklin's writings and letters, which, when completely published, will comprise 45 or so volumes. His picture of Franklin that emerges is that of a man with immense talents, but who knew that he would have more influence if he listened more than he talked. He was also immensely curious about everything, including his fellow humans, no matter what gender, religion, or class. For example, he was a friend of the preacher George Whitefield, though he had by then developed his philosophy of moral virtues and had left any formal church.

I've always found the Founding Fathers pretty remarkable, but this book brings into focus how amazing it was that they had the variety of talents needed to make this unprecedented event happen. Franklin, because of his scientific and other accomplishments, had the respect in other countries that made it possible for him to negotiate in France for the money, arms, and men that made the American victory possible.

The years Franklin spent in England were also important. Franklin had an image of a British empire in which the focus was equally on the Amercan continent. He could see that in population, territory, and every measure the colonies were going to surpass England, and he thought the English would recognize it and deal more fairly with the colonies. But he was in the forefront to realize this wasn't going to happen, and it moved him to ideas of an independent America.

This book overall is a remarkable picture of a remarkable man.

Publication Beck C. H. (2006), Hardcover, 303 pages
Publication date 2006
ISBN 3406535089 / 9783406535086

Posted via web from reannon's posterous

1 comment:

Ed Hird+ said...

Benjamin Franklin had that ability to puzzle everyone, both his friends and his enemies. No one could put him in a box: http://bit.ly/GlT9z