Benjamin Franklin; An American Life

New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. 13th Printing [stated]. Hardcover. [12], 590, [6] pages. Illustrated endpapers. Includes Cast of Characters, Chronology, Currency Conversions, Sources and Abbreviations, Notes, and Index. Walter Isaacson (born May 20, 1952) is an American analyst, author, journalist, historian, and professor. Positions that he's held include serving as the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute as well as the chairperson and CEO of CNN and as the managing editor of Time. His writings have appeared in multiple publications such as the New Orleans Times-Picayune and The Sunday Times. After working for multiple years as a journalist, he branched out into authorship and co-wrote with Evan Thomas the work The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Over the years, he's written multiple biographical works including Steve Jobs, American Sketches, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, and Kissinger: A Biography. The many facets and incredibly prodigious activity of the Founding Father who was also an inventor, printer, diplomat, businessman, community organizer, and author of an important autobiography. Isaacson portrays Franklin as a practical man who championed and embodied middle class values, and who was himself the model for a new kind of American. A New York Times Notable Book for 2003. Derived from a Kirkus review: Nicely done life of “the most accomplished American of his age.” Benjamin Franklin may have been among the leading revolutionary firebrands of his time, but, suggests Isaacson, he wouldn’t be at all out of place in an office park or perhaps Rotary Club meeting today. That means to say that Franklin was a practical-minded businessman who found much virtue in striking compromises, building consensus, and networking—and who pinched pennies with the best of them, adopting vegetarianism only so that the money saved on meat could go into his savings and studies. Isaacson reminds us that Franklin essentially retired, wealthy and content, in his early 40s and devoted the rest of his days to doing acts of public good, pressing the cause of meritocracy in the service of “social mobility rather than an established elite” and furthering the cause of American independence at considerable risk to his property and person. Isaacson charts the trajectory of Franklin’s political thought on all kinds of matters; he notes, for instance, that although Franklin enthusiastically accepted advertisements for slave sales in the newspapers he published, he came to see the incompatibility of such commerce with the revolutionary ideals he espoused and ended his days as a committed abolitionist. Similarly, as the very exemplar of a self-made man, Franklin gave much thought to the inequalities wrought by inherited fortune. Franklin’s arguments did not carry the day in most particulars, but he remains an ideal American type—and one well served by this sympathetic and admiring study. A solid contribution to Frankliniana. Condition: Very good.

Keywords: Benjamin Franklin, Politics & Government., Politicians, Diplomats, Founding Fathers, American Revolution, Technology, Scientists, Constitutional Convention, Continental Congress, William Franklin, Vergennes

ISBN: 0684807610

[Book #54069]

Price: $40.00

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