Benjamin Franklin

  • by Walter Isaacson
  • Narrated by Boyd Gaines
  • 7 hrs and 17 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In best selling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours. The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.

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What the Critics Say

"Benjamin Franklin catalogs the extraordinary range of its subject's accomplishments, which remain unrivaled in their variety and utility." (The New York Times)
"Isaacson has crafted a wonderfully written biography, and his treatment of Franklin's youth and rise to prominence is insightful and imaginative" (The Washington Post)
"The abridgment is seamless, the text runs the gamut...from brilliant to ordinary."(AudioFile)
"Blessed with one of the most polished and easy-to-absorb voices in the audio business, reader Boyd Gaines does an outstanding job with Walter Isaacson's excellent biography of perhaps the most appealing of the Founding Fathers..." (USA Today)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

suffers from abridgement

this 6hr audiobook is devoid of the necessary detail to bring it to life. it would have probably been 20+ hours unabridged. better to enjoy 6hrs of any other unabridged book to settle for this.
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- Douglas

Leaves a lot to be desired

The reading of this book leads me to believe that we could have done without Mr. Franklin. There is no passion, there is no cohesiveness as to what is happening around Mr. Franklin as we are pulled through a very superficial story. If one good thing comes of this book, it will be that I must read another one on Benjamin Franklin because he HAD to be more important than this book would have you come to understand. I didn't give it just one star only because I have read worse.
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- S. Blaine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-18-2003
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio