"The best short biography of Franklin ever written."--Gordon S. Wood 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 moralist--and 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.
From a well respected biographer-historian, Edmund S. Morgan boils down the essence of the prolific Founding Father. More like a philosophical work, Mr. Morgan skips an introductory chapter and begins exploring Franklin's scientific work.
"What was he thinking?" is the currency this book trades on and unfortunately, Benjamin Franklin was efficient at compartmentalizing his personal and public lives. Morgan is honest in prefacing aspects of the statesman's that shall remain mysteries.
Written in a manner allowing any reader to understand, only those familiar with Franklin's life will appreciate the scrutiny given one of America's finest scientist, humorist, printer, and politician.