The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

The First American The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin In the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years acclaimed historian H W Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful bawdy brilliant original and importa

  • Title: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
  • Author: H.W. Brands
  • ISBN: 9780385493284
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years, acclaimed historian H W Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, brilliant, original, and important figures in American history.A groundbreaking scientist, leading businessman, philosopher, bestselling author, inventor, diplomat, politician, and wit, Benjamin Franklin wIn the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years, acclaimed historian H W Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, brilliant, original, and important figures in American history.A groundbreaking scientist, leading businessman, philosopher, bestselling author, inventor, diplomat, politician, and wit, Benjamin Franklin was perhaps the most beloved and celebrated American of his age, or indeed of any age Now, in a beautifully written and meticulously researched account of Franklin s life and times, his clever repartee, generous spirit, and earthy wisdom are brought compellingly to the page His circle of friends and acquaintances extended around the globe, from Cotton Mather to Voltaire, from Edmund Burke to King George III, from Sir Isaac Newton to Immanuel Kant Franklin was gifted with a restless curiosity, and his scientific experiments with electric currents and the weather made him the leading pioneer in the new field of electricity on both sides of the Atlantic among his many inventions were the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the harmonica, a musical instrument that became the rage of Europe From his humble beginnings in Boston as a printer s apprentice, he became, within two decades, the leading printer and one of the most important businessmen in the Colonies A longtime Philadelphia civic leader, he created Philadelphia s first fire department, wrote the bestseller Poor Richard s Almanac, served as Postmaster General for the Colonies, and in the process, completely modernized the mail service A bon vivant and ladies man throughout his life, he matched wits with Parliament and the Crown during the decade leading up to the Stamp Act and as the official agent to Parliament, representing several of the Colonies, he helped push the Colonies into open rebellion.Tracing Franklin s gradual transformation from reluctant revolutionary to charismatic leader in the fight for independence, Brands convincingly argues that on the issue of revolution, as Franklin went, so went America During the Revolutionary War, Franklin was charged by Congress with wooing the King of France to the American cause, and it was the diplomatic alliances he forged and funds he raised in France that allowed the Continental Army to continue to fight on the battlefield In his final years, as president of the Constitutional Convention, it was Franklin who held together the antagonistic factions and persuaded its members to sign the Constitution.Drawing on previously unpublished letters to and from Franklin, as well as the recollections and anecdotes of Franklin s contemporaries, H W Brands has created a rich and compelling portrait of the eighteenth century genius who was in every respect America s first Renaissance man, and arguably the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America A fascinating and richly textured biography of the man who was perhaps the greatest of our Founding Fathers, The First American is history on a grand scale, as well as a major contribution to understanding Franklin and the world he helped to shape.

    One thought on “The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin”

    1. The best biography I've ever read. Franklin is so human I could walk into the next room and not be surprised to see him setting there.The biographer also makes a very compelling argument that Ben Franklin was the most indispensable figure in the American Revolutionary adventure. Or at least tied with Washington.Most historians agree that without George Washington, there's nobody else who could've stepped forward to successfully keep an army together, miraculously beat the most powerful country i [...]

    2. A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as "our rebellion." It is only in the third person - "their rebellion" - that it becomes illegal. Ben FranklinTouching the history of the venerated Founding Fathers, who apparently descended from heaven to wage war against George III, is a difficult task. So it was with trepidation that I started this book, wondering what new angle yet another biographer was going to try to discover. By the time I finished (it took me almost as long as the Re [...]

    3. This biography of Franklin is billed as comprehensive and it certainly is that. It would seem to contain essentially every thing that is known about the great man's life. I would say it is a must read for anyone interested in American history. Even though it is a huge book.By the title, Brands makes the case that it is Franklin who most deserves the credit for the steps that led to the creation of the American republic. Washington, of course, deserves the credit for winning the war, but who got [...]

    4. An excellent biography of an amazing person. Deeply researched, it revelas all the aspects of Franklin's life, especially those he glossed over in his autobiography.

    5. I haven't read any of the author's other works, so I can't comment on how his style and craft may be evolving, but this book is well-written, well-thought-out, and as far as I can discern, well-researched.Like most people, I've known of Franklin all my life (well, less about 6 years). And, like most people, I also knew he flew a kite in an electrical storm (which seems rather foolhardy to down-right-dangerous, if you understand what the quantity of power in a typical lightning strike is), invent [...]

    6. A monumental yet eminently readable biography of (arguably) the most impressive and important of the early figures in American history. Written in a very clear style, the book moves along, drawing the reader into wanting to know the next events in this very fascinating life. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND! From : He was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is little more than a mythic caricature in the public imagination. Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutiona [...]

    7. "Finally," this is what all my goodread friends are saying. I started this book seven months ago. What took me so long. First, I don't actually read that much. Secondly, I often found myself pausing while reading to look up some piece of information. I was led down many a trail reading this book. Finally, the printer printed on big pages in a small font. Ok all my excuses are finished, what about the book. I personally prefer learning about history through the lens of biography. Given that cave [...]

    8. Earlier: I think this is the Vook edition. It has embedded video. I downloaded it as an app to my iPhone from the Apple iBookstore. I have a hunch this multimedia book experience is not as rich as it could be, but it's a start on a form that's in its infancy.Update: Turns out I'm not a big fan of the Vook format, at least for recreational reading. I suppose I'm too retro, equate reading with "quiet time."I like taking books, and ebooks, to public places. Unless I want to wear earbuds, I'm not co [...]

    9. It's nice reading about a founding father who's not a blatant racist and petitioned congress to abolish slavery. Franklin wrote often in his later years about this, also stating that he saw no difference in the intelligence of blacks, whites or native Americans. He also tried to get fair treatment for native Americans, quite a change from other founding fathers. He was also extremely tolerant about religion, even writing that if a Muslim preacher showed up in Boston, he's support letting him use [...]

    10. I so enjoyed reading about this great man. He was a genius! He was one of the founding fathers and because of his insight, kindness, and knowledge he helped make America great!

    11. Superb biography of one of the greatest early Americans. Franklin lived many different lives within one: printer, businessman, philosopher, scientist, meteorologist, inventor, politician, mediator, minister, representative of the people. Brands does a great job bringing him to life, focusing on the varied aspects of Franklin's personality and how he effectively negotiated with people in various parts of his life over the years to get what he (or the fledgling U.S) needed. Brands does not hesitat [...]

    12. I'm not sure how this received "my rating" before now, but the 4 stars are accurate. I really liked this book. I learned so much more about Benjamin Franklin. One confession, the reason I put this down dealt with me reading something that made me angry with one of my favorite founding fathers. I am glad I decided to let go of that anger and proceed to the end of this biography.HW Brands' source notes are extensive - 40 pages worth! His telling of Benjamin Franklin's life incorporates quotes from [...]

    13. Brands does an excellent job of capturing Franklin's exuberant versatility as a writer who adopted countless personae evidence of his gift for seeing the world through a variety of different lenses that not only predestined his prominence as a man of letters but also as an agile man of politics.From Franklin's progress as a self-declared ""Briton""serving as London agent for Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other colonies to his evolution as an American (wartime minister to France, senior peace n [...]

    14. I love Ben Franklin. I mean, I know he wasn't perfect, but he's so inspiring. I love how he constantly tries to be better and is so intentional about his life. His family life needed alot of work, and it's sad to me that his relationship with his son was so painful and distant at times.The other thing that was interesting to me about this book was seeing the events of the American birth play out as they did. I think we credit our country to this philosophical and moral giantswhen in reality(thou [...]

    15. I really liked the fact that this book went into detail about Benjamin Franklin's thoughts on religion, on the process of politics, how his love for the British changed, and moved to the American side when we had to change. It was very insightful and very funny at times as well what a great man we had in Benjamin Franklin.

    16. While I am still trying to finish this book, I absolutely love it. It is heady, intelligent, and full of detail that is hard to find in a lot of other autobiographies.This is a book which requires concentrated time if you want to take in all of the information included in this book. Whenever I pick it up to read a chapter, I am completely engrossed and lose track of time.

    17. "The First American" is a wake-up call — never again will I ignore this fascinating-yet-gentle giant of intellect and words. H.W. Brands crafts a sumptuous biography that does great justice to a great man…and it should be shared far and wide. Drag Ben Franklin out of the the realm of cliche and the fog of forgetfulness, and force him back into the spotlight he so richly deserves.

    18. Twenty-three years ago I read "Mornings on Horseback," McCullough's biography of Teddy Roosevelt. I had trouble putting that book down, and I became a great admirer of TR. After reading this, I don't have the same feeling about Franklin. Too academic.

    19. I find the history of the United States very intriguing and inspiring. Benjamin Franklin played a major role in this country foundation. At the same time, he wrote so many works and publications that we literally can ready through his history.

    20. Although it's surely impossible to fit all of Franklin into any volume, this is a wonderful biography of man who had hugely impactful life.

    21. Well written and well researched. I enjoyed it a great deal. Did a good job of covering most of Franklin's life.

    22. This book was the main reason I choose to write my history thesis on Benjamin Franklin. There is so much more about this man that is fascinating but is not taught in history books.

    23. Absolutely loved this book!!! Franklin was then and always will be a fascinating man. I would definitely recommend this book!

    24. Excellent biography the first chapter is stellar the rest merely (merely!) excellent. Highly recommended.

    25. WOW. I love Benjamin Franklin. There, I said it. And the author of this biography did a beautifully stunning job of writing his life and times. A book everybody should read.I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. Most of my education in American history began with the Constitution. With this book I go back another 85 or so years. I'm so glad I did. I only vaguely knew of Franklin as a printer, some sort of key totin' kite flier, and something about inventing bifocals. I was thrilled [...]

    26. Benjamin Franklin was The First American as the title of the book by H.W. Brands suggests. On his road to becoming the first American, Brands argues that Franklin considered himself British and intended to settle in London and live out his life until a course of events set in place by the times altered his life path. The work covers Franklin’s life from birth and ends with his death the night of April 17, 1790. Brands exposition of Franklin removes him from the historical folk character every [...]

    27. While knowing some of the broad outlines of Franklin’s life, I was interested in filling in the details of this varied and remarkable American. This book intelligently and engagingly covers the life and times of Ben Franklin as a civic initiator, printer, writer, politician and inventor. What I found particularly interesting were Franklin’s general pro British feelings and pro empire leanings up to somewhat close to the key events of the pre revolutionary era, and the fact that he lived abro [...]

    28. This book was about Benjamin Franklin and the things that were happening in his life he talked especially about the many wars that were going on and what was happening with these battles reading this I thought that he was very intelligent and while reading he would include fact and then kind of go into a religion feel. Benjamin also talks about his childhood and he briefly talks about his invention. overall I thought this was an interesting book and had many good insights of what was happing san [...]

    29. "To genius he joined a passion for virtue. His genius distinguished him from others, yet it also connected him to others, for he sought knowledge not for its own sake but for humanity's. His passion for virtue reflected not hope of heaven but faith in his fellow mortals." Fantastisch boek. Lange zit, dat wel

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