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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, if they are interested in learning about the founding fathers and in the life of scientists.
What other book might you compare Benjamin Franklin: An American Life to and why?
Washington: A Life. They are comprehensive biographies that portray their subjects as actual humans, with virtues and flaws, and make you feel close to them, their way of thinking, and how they became great historic icons.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
While his tone and articulation were very good, I cannot say the same about the frequent "mouth" sounds throughout the narration. You can hear him stopping to drink water, swallowing, and making other sounds that are distracting, annoying, and a little disgusting. I know that your mouth can become dry from narrating such a long book, but I have listened to the George Washington biography, Herman Wouk's Winds of War, and other equally long books, without these "sound effects".
I think the narrator was good, but the sound production team could have worked better at filtering the sounds.
55 of 57 people found this review helpful
While the folksy narrating did grow on me and I came to understand it's rationale after listening to more of the story of Franklin's persona as a folksy scientist philosopher, I found the narrating at times distracting. That being said, the importance of the full scope of Franklin's life and the fascinating course that it charted through the colonial to revolutionary period in the nascent United States and the seeds of change in Europe that he either sowed or witnessed, make his story one worth knowing. The story makes some excuses for his cold dismissal (and possible neglect) of his family and it is here, with those serious and grave topics that the folksy narration draws too stark a contrast between narration and content.
Overall, it's worth the time because this man's story is so integral to the story of the establishment of the American story. I hope another biographer will take Franklin to task (McCullough or Chernow)...
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
I knew that Franklin was important in the formulation of the American Constitution and that he played a part in the understanding of electricity, but had not realized how impressive were his other scientific investigations nor how influential he was in international negotiations over independence from Britain. His life from humble beginnings to world fame is an inspiring story of self-education and hard work coupled with an admirable tolerance to all religious creeds and a playful sense of humour. The book is an engaging listen as his far from perfect personal life and extraordinary public one are interwoven with the domestic concerns and important moments in history.
The reader has just the right amount of folksy charm to narrate this fascinating biography.
10 of 12 people found this review helpful
This was recommended by a friend who read the book, and I was not disappointed by the audio version. I knew next to nothing about Franklin and little about the American process of independence and I found this biography really interesting about both the man and his time. It was a compelling listen and fascinating. Now I'd like to find a biography of his wife, who must have been an extraordinary woman in her own right! Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Similar to Franklin's autobiography, this is inspiring and useful as a guide for me making my way in this world. However, it is much more expansive and provides a much broader context of his life, and the impact he had on America.
Another great book by Walter, I enjoyed learning about the life of Benjamin Franklin and how he evolved to be the man he is