Central to America's idea of itself is the character of Benjamin Franklin. We all know him, or think we do: In recent works and in our inherited conventional wisdom, he remains fixed in place as a genial polymath and self-improver who was so very American that he is known by us all as the first American. The problem with this beloved notion of Franklin's quintessential Americanness, Gordon Wood shows us in this marvelous, revelatory book, is that it's simply not true. And it blinds us to the no less admirable or important but far more interesting man Franklin really was and leaves us powerless to make sense of the most crucial events of his life. Indeed, thinking of Franklin as the last American would be less of a hindrance to understanding many crucial aspects of his life: his preoccupation with becoming a gentleman; his longtime loyalty to the Crown and burning ambition to be a player in the British Empire's power structure; the personal character of his conversion to revolutionary; his reasons for writing the Autobiography; his controversies with John and Samuel Adams and with Congress; his love of Europe and conflicted sense of national identity; the fact that his death was greeted by mass mourning in France and widely ignored in America.
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin is a landmark work, a magnificent fresh vision of Franklin's life and reputation, filled with profound insights into the Revolution and into the emergence of America's idea of itself.
Audie Award Finalist, Non-Fiction (unabridged), 2005
" "A fascinating portrait of Franklin, not only as a forefather but as a man." (Publishers Weekly)
"This superbly written work provides a fresh perspective on a justly admired but enigmatic figure." (Booklist)
"Engaging....A skilled writer with both Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes to his credit, he [Wood] possesses as profound a grasp of the early days of the Republic as anyone currently working." (The New York Times Book Review)
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My 3rd or 4th favorite history/biography book
I've read and listened to this story and I really like it. It is well-titled but I hadn't really thought about the title when I started it. This book tells the story of Franklin transitioning from a proud Englishman to an independent American. He was such an interesting man, although not so wonderful perhaps in the husband/father category. Regardless, one should admire this pivotal figure in American history.
It's very unique. Franklin had so many different interests and he influenced many different areas of his time period. He lived a long life and understood the value of print to promote his many ideas and beliefs.
Not that I can remember.
Not that I can remember. It just made me understand more of the impact he had on the development of our nation.
Franklin Would Have Loved This Book