The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin[Read] ➲ The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin ➺ H.W. Brands – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk In the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years, acclaimed historian H W Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, brilliant, original, and importa In the American: The MOBI ô first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years, acclaimed historian H W Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, brilliant, original, and important figures in American historyA groundbreaking scientist, leading businessman, philosopher, bestselling author, inventor, diplomat, politician, and wit, Benjamin Franklin was perhaps the most beloved and celebrated American of his age, or indeed of any age Now, in a beautifully written and meticulously researched account of The First PDF \ Franklin s life and times, his clever repartee, generous spirit, and earthy wisdom are brought compellingly to the page His circle of friends and acquaintances extended around the globe, from Cotton Mather to Voltaire, from Edmund Burke to King George III, from Sir Isaac Newton to Immanuel Kant Franklin was gifted with a restless curiosity, and his scientific experiments with electric currents and the weather made him the leading pioneer in the new field of electricity First American: The MOBI ò on both sides of the Atlantic among his many inventions were the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the harmonica, a musical instrument that became the rage of Europe From his humble beginnings in Boston as a printer s apprentice, he became, within two decades, the leading printer and one of the most important businessmen in the Colonies A longtime Philadelphia civic leader, he created Philadelphia s first fire department, wrote the bestseller Poor Richard s Almanac, served as Postmaster General for the Colonies, and in the process, completely modernized the mail service A bon vivant and ladies man throughout his life, he matched wits with Parliament and the Crown during the decade leading up to the Stamp Act and as the official agent to Parliament, representing several of the Colonies, he helped push the Colonies into open rebellionTracing Franklin s gradual transformation from reluctant revolutionary to charismatic leader in the fight for independence, Brands convincingly argues that on the issue of revolution, as Franklin went, so went America During the Revolutionary War, Franklin was charged by Congress with wooing the King of France to the American cause, and it was the diplomatic alliances he forged and funds he raised in France that allowed the Continental Army to continue to fight on the battlefield In his final years, as president of the Constitutional Convention, it was Franklin who held together the antagonistic factions and persuaded its members to sign the ConstitutionDrawing on previously unpublished letters to and from Franklin, as well as the recollections and anecdotes of Franklin s contemporaries, H W Brands has created a rich and compelling portrait of the eighteenth century genius who was in every respect America s first Renaissance man, and arguably the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America A fascinating and richly textured biography of the man who was perhaps the greatest of our Founding Fathers, The First American is history on a grand scale, as well as a major contribution to understanding Franklin and the world he helped to shape. 2 Best Book I Read in 2019 I m making my way through the history of the American Revolution by reading one book about every founding father So far I ve read Chernow s books on Hamilton and Washington, and this one by HW Brands.Each book has shown me the same exact stories and events but told through different eyes I m getting layers on top of layers, and it s been a lot of fun.With Hamilton you get an inside look at the creation of the federal government With Washington you see all the actio 2 Best Book I Read in 2019 I m making my way through the history of the American Revolution by reading one book about every founding father So far I ve read Chernow s books on Hamilton and Washington, and this one by HW Brands.Each book has shown me the same exact stories and events but told through different eyes I m getting layers on top of layers, and it s been a lot of fun.With Hamilton you get an inside look at the creation of the federal government With Washington you see all the action from the ground level But seeing everything from only their eyes makes you miss why everything got started up in the first place Through Franklin s life and writings and feuds you can see America s disaffection with England start to grow And not just grow, but morph from colonists who truly saw themselves as English, to Americans who saw themselves as the creators of something entirely new.That s the most interesting part of this book I never realized that independence wasn t really even considered by anybody at least by anybody whose opinion mattered at the time until much later in the feud And when the Declaration was finally written, nobody thought it would become a founding document that we are still feeling the shockwaves of today.Franklin is the perfect person to tell this story through, as he was truly a man of both sides of the Atlantic He was born and raised in the colonies, had family there, and all of his business interests were there But he spent most of his adult life in Europe, and felt most at home there His strongest friendships and relationships were there.Lots of fascinating stuff here The story of how Poor Richard and his Almanac came to be is great The story of Franklin before the Privy Counsel, answering for the release of the Hutchinson letters is probably the moment that revolution became inevitable This book was my first education on what the peace process between both sides was like at the conclusion of the war Also, this is the first time I ve had a real understanding of the Stamp Act and taxation without representation The best biography I ve ever read Franklin is so human I could walk into the next room and not be surprised to see him setting there.The biographer also makes a very compelling argument that Ben Franklin was the most indispensable figure in the American Revolutionary adventure Or at least tied with Washington.Most historians agree that without George Washington, there s nobody else who could ve stepped forward to successfully keep an army together, miraculously beat the most powerful country i The best biography I ve ever read Franklin is so human I could walk into the next room and not be surprised to see him setting there.The biographer also makes a very compelling argument that Ben Franklin was the most indispensable figure in the American Revolutionary adventure Or at least tied with Washington.Most historians agree that without George Washington, there s nobody else who could ve stepped forward to successfully keep an army together, miraculously beat the most powerful country in the world, and then step down when people were asking him to become emperor.After this book, though, you ll believe the war was unwinnable without Franklin nobody else could ve gotten the French to lend the US money and give naval support and others did try.Plus, of course, the man s life was fascinating A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as our rebellion It is only in the third person their rebellion that it becomes illegal. Ben FranklinTouching the history of the venerated Founding Fathers, who apparently descended from heaven to wage war against George III, is a difficult task So it was with trepidation that I started this book, wondering what new angle yet another biographer was going to try to discover By the time I finished it took me almost as long as the Re A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as our rebellion It is only in the third person their rebellion that it becomes illegal. Ben FranklinTouching the history of the venerated Founding Fathers, who apparently descended from heaven to wage war against George III, is a difficult task So it was with trepidation that I started this book, wondering what new angle yet another biographer was going to try to discover By the time I finished it took me almost as long as the Revolutionary War itselfthis is a big tome , I felt Mr Franklin was no longer a god but a self made guy I could relate to, albeit in a very respectful, reverent way.He was one of seventeen children 17 I mean, think of that There was no welfare system, no Google apps, no convenience stores How did a Founding Father emerge from that burden He was apprenticed to an older brother, but ran away, which made him a fugitive in New England, so he wound up in Pennsylvania, a colony run as a personal holding by the Penn family it isn t just Franklin we learn about in this book Then, Franklin began his extraordinary life I lost track of his inventions, of his process enhancements long before kaizen existed , of his frontier defense ideas, of his diplomatic victories, of his..it never ends.If the Brits had treated Franklin and his views withrespect, there probably wouldn t have been a consolidated revolution When he made the decision for independence, he never looked back John Adams and Thomas Jefferson led with passion, but The Sage was the one behind them, filling the gaps As the book explains, the Yanks didn t suddenly throw tea into the sea and demand the cutting of the cord from the Mother Countryresentment had been building for decades Faced with having to bear the physical and financial burden of fighting England s wars on their home soil, but then watching as the King and his cabinet made post fight decisions without regard to the feelings of the colonists, the Ben Franklins and George Washingtons slowly turned from loyal subjects to disgruntled rebels The waves do not rise, but when the winds blow.I think what I liked about this book, and Franklin himself, was his outlook He wasn t one of the high born southerners or British ground swillers In essence, he embodied the middle class, the shopkeepers of the world As he created his own wealth, he understood its use was to purchase one s own freedom Freedom to travel, freedom to eat what one wants, freedom to work or not work, freedom to choose one s own doctor, freedom to read the books one wants to read, freedom to print the books one wants to print He never patented his inventions, as he felt they should be available to help all, not just the 1 percenters of the world We ve spawned a new race Rougher, simplerviolent,enterprising less refined We re a new nationality We require a new nation. This book takes that path, to help us understand the man behind the man Franklin could be infuriating he stayed overseas instead of coming home to his dying wife, he severed all ties with his Loyalist son , but he was right and far, far ahead of his time It s a LONG read, but worth it.Plus, it helped me get past the Ben Franklin of the movie musical, whom I have always loved because he was the one Founding Father I could envision singing and dancing on a staircase while the United States was being founded Book Season Autumn kites and storms W Brands The First American The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was published in 2000 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist Brands is a professor of history and government at the University of Texas and a prolific author He has written nearly three dozen books including biographies of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Ronald Reagan each of which I have read and reviewed.Given its encyclopedic breadth and scholarly bent, T W Brands The First American The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was published in 2000 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist Brands is a professor of history and government at the University of Texas and a prolific author He has written nearly three dozen books including biographies of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Ronald Reagan each of which I have read and reviewed.Given its encyclopedic breadth and scholarly bent, The First American has largely supplanted Carl Van Doren s 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning classic as the standard biography of Franklin With 716 pages of text and studious attention to every major facet of Franklin s unusually varied and interesting life, Brands biography is comprehensive, detailed and incredibly thoughtful.It is quickly obvious that this distinguished Founding Father is a somewhat elusive biographical subject a man of many talents who remains enigmatic due to his apparent affinity for contradictions and failure to chronicle his own innermost thoughts during a life situated on the front row of so much early American history.Nevertheless, Brands is able to craft a rich narrative which explores the familiar features of Franklin s life and captures many of the nuances which will have eluded readers who have never undertaken a serious study of the man Among the many excellent aspects of this biography are stories of young Franklin s journey to Philadelphia from Boston, his earliest weeks as an up and coming printer and his introduction to a notoriously unreliable governor of Pennsylvania.A later chapter devoted largely to chronicling his playful pursuit of a number of much younger French ladies and the ongoing exploration of Franklin s relationship with his oldest son are incredibly revealing But the most thought provoking observations are those related to Franklin s lifelong efforts to maintain allegiance to the American colonies while preserving his friendly status and strong personal relationships in Britain.But as interesting as this book can be, it is neither an effortless nor a particularly carefree read The author s writing style is penetrating and thoughtful but not consistently captivating or colorful And because it possesses a distinct scholarly quality some readers will find it a bit too erudite if not abstruse.In addition, Brands helpfully supplies background and context which can be useful for anyone unfamiliar with 18th century history But occasional context quickly morphs into relentless tangents which distract from the narrative and cause the reader to lose sight of the bigger picture Finally, despite the author s efforts to paint a robust and vibrant portrait of his subject, Benjamin Franklin remains stubbornly perplexing and mysterious afterthan seven hundred pages.Overall, H W Brands The First American is a solid biography of one of America s most fascinating Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin s eccentricities and contradictions seem to confound even the most determined of biographers Nevertheless, readers with an interest in early American life or with one of America s most intriguing personalities will find this biography compelling and enlightening.Overall rating 3 stars This biography of Franklin is billed as comprehensive and it certainly is that It would seem to contain essentially every thing that is known about the great man s life I would say it is a must read for anyone interested in American history Even though it is a huge book.By the title, Brands makes the case that it is Franklin who most deserves the credit for the steps that led to the creation of the American republic Washington, of course, deserves the credit for winning the war, but who got This biography of Franklin is billed as comprehensive and it certainly is that It would seem to contain essentially every thing that is known about the great man s life I would say it is a must read for anyone interested in American history Even though it is a huge book.By the title, Brands makes the case that it is Franklin who most deserves the credit for the steps that led to the creation of the American republic Washington, of course, deserves the credit for winning the war, but who got it started is the question.Before reading this work I had believed that it was John Adams who deserved most of the credit, probably because I had readabout Adams than Franklin I also knew that Franklin was a libertine which I don t like.However, Brands has convinced me that it is indeed Franklin who most merits the credit for the birth of my country In fact it is likely that because he was a libertine he got along with the French so well and secured their critical assistance when John Adams could not.Reading the detail of Franklin s dealings with the British government as agent for the colonies in London, leading up to the split, makes me thank our lucky American stars for the incredible arrogance, stupidity and greed of parliament and George III If they had any foresight London would today be the capitol of the greatest nation on earth, albeit with most of the population on the other side of the Atlantic Franklin was arguing for unification and the British governement said, no you are our possession I haven t read any of the author s other works, so I can t comment on how his style and craft may be evolving, but this book is well written, well thought out, and as far as I can discern, well researched.Like most people, I ve known of Franklin all my life well, less about 6 years And, like most people, I also knew he flew a kite in an electrical storm which seems rather foolhardy to down right dangerous, if you understand what the quantity of power in a typical lightning strike is , invent I haven t read any of the author s other works, so I can t comment on how his style and craft may be evolving, but this book is well written, well thought out, and as far as I can discern, well researched.Like most people, I ve known of Franklin all my life well, less about 6 years And, like most people, I also knew he flew a kite in an electrical storm which seems rather foolhardy to down right dangerous, if you understand what the quantity of power in a typical lightning strike is , invented the lightning rod, was a printer by trade, wrote and published Poor Richard s Almanac , invented the Franklin stove , had something to do with the U.S Postal System, and was a diplomat in France at some point.Unlike most people, I also knew that he was honored by having his name engraved into the assembly hall of the Boston Latin School and in the 7th grade was required to read The Autobiography of Ben Franklin along with another colonial thriller, Johnny Tremain.What I learned from this book was a great deal To go over all of the specifics would probably take a sizable fraction of the book itself So, I ll restrict my comments to a few choice morsels.Franklin spent years in both England and France I mean years Ok, I knew about when he was young and drank water while all his co workers drank lots of beer in a print shop in England He was there for extended visits in both countries England first before actual armed rebellion and then France Heck, he even planned on living in England permanently because he was so well accepted and so pleased with the culture, intellectual environment and big city life.Franklin s experiment with the kite was well designed to minimize risks to the experimenter, but others repeated it and at at least one got a serious shock chalk one up to the stunningly obvious But, the kite experiment was one of a series that helped define that various phenomena were all interrelated and described the same basic, underlying principle or forces.All of Franklin s real innovation and contribution to the organization and operation of the Postal Service came during decades of part time effort as a Royal appointee His work with the post revolutionary USPS was basically to restore the fine operation that he had already created.Franklin did not patent and essentially gave away the plans for the Franklin fireplace i.e stove to help people heat the homes with less fuel and with less money.I could go on and on, but if anything I ve written here intrigues you, go out and read the book And, yes, I liked it An excellent biography of an amazing person Deeply researched, it revelas all the aspects of Franklin s life, especially those he glossed over in his autobiography. Benjamin Franklin s story is the story of an exceptionally gifted and interesting man For H.W Brands, a professor of history at Texas A M University, he is the central figure of an era marked by sweeping change because he was involved in so many other aspects of his rapidly changing world beyond political revolution By the time revolution shook America, Franklin had already earned worldwide fame Had there never been an American Revolution, it is likely that few of the Founding Fathers would Benjamin Franklin s story is the story of an exceptionally gifted and interesting man For H.W Brands, a professor of history at Texas AM University, he is the central figure of an era marked by sweeping change because he was involved in so many other aspects of his rapidly changing world beyond political revolution By the time revolution shook America, Franklin had already earned worldwide fame Had there never been an American Revolution, it is likely that few of the Founding Fathers would be remembered today yet Franklin was an extraordinary man even in ordinary times His reputation was assured by his inventions, discoveries, and literary activities As Brands writes, Franklin was by far the most famous American in the world Although Franklin s father only had enough money to send him to school for two years, young Ben diligently continued his own education through voracious reading Thus, Franklin became a true Renaissance man with many areas of knowledge He made several contributions to science electricity, meteorology , inventions bifocal lenses, the Franklin stove, a remote grabber , and public institutions the American Philosophical Society, the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S Post Office, the first subscription library in America, Philadelphia s first fire company But Brands places his greatest emphasis on Benjamin Franklin s development as a politician and statesman wartime minister to France, senior peace negotiator with Britain, participant at the Constitutional Convention It was Franklin who persuaded France to become an American ally, which ultimately led to his country s victory in its war for independence While there is much of interest to learn from Brand s biography Franklin, the book at times seemed to move along too slowly Some days the narrative seemed flat I would often lose interest and only read 20 pages in a day Too often, we get an uninspired, unfocused record of Franklin s interests and accomplishments The author never explores deeply into Franklin s character He does not seriously examine Franklin s lax attitude toward his family Why did he spend nearly 18 years apart from his wife, Deborah, while serving on foreign posts Why was he reluctant to reconcile with his son William after his loyalist politics left them estranged Too much space is devoted to Franklin s roguish and not terribly significant adventures Had it not been for this lack of focus, this biography would easily have earned five stars A monumental yet eminently readable biography of arguably the most impressive and important of the early figures in American history Written in a very clear style, the book moves along, drawing the reader into wanting to know the next events in this very fascinating life VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND FromHe was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is littlethan a mythic caricature in the public imagination Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revol A monumental yet eminently readable biography of arguably the most impressive and important of the early figures in American history Written in a very clear style, the book moves along, drawing the reader into wanting to know the next events in this very fascinating life VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND FromHe was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is littlethan a mythic caricature in the public imagination Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography.Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America s first Renaissance man From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured America s independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the world s most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H W Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth century genius A much needed reminder of Franklin s greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy Absolutely loved this book Franklin was then and always will be a fascinating man I would definitely recommend this book

The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin
    EPUB is an ebook file format that uses the epub and acquaintances extended around the globe, from Cotton Mather to Voltaire, from Edmund Burke to King George III, from Sir Isaac Newton to Immanuel Kant Franklin was gifted with a restless curiosity, and his scientific experiments with electric currents and the weather made him the leading pioneer in the new field of electricity First American: The MOBI ò on both sides of the Atlantic among his many inventions were the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the harmonica, a musical instrument that became the rage of Europe From his humble beginnings in Boston as a printer s apprentice, he became, within two decades, the leading printer and one of the most important businessmen in the Colonies A longtime Philadelphia civic leader, he created Philadelphia s first fire department, wrote the bestseller Poor Richard s Almanac, served as Postmaster General for the Colonies, and in the process, completely modernized the mail service A bon vivant and ladies man throughout his life, he matched wits with Parliament and the Crown during the decade leading up to the Stamp Act and as the official agent to Parliament, representing several of the Colonies, he helped push the Colonies into open rebellionTracing Franklin s gradual transformation from reluctant revolutionary to charismatic leader in the fight for independence, Brands convincingly argues that on the issue of revolution, as Franklin went, so went America During the Revolutionary War, Franklin was charged by Congress with wooing the King of France to the American cause, and it was the diplomatic alliances he forged and funds he raised in France that allowed the Continental Army to continue to fight on the battlefield In his final years, as president of the Constitutional Convention, it was Franklin who held together the antagonistic factions and persuaded its members to sign the ConstitutionDrawing on previously unpublished letters to and from Franklin, as well as the recollections and anecdotes of Franklin s contemporaries, H W Brands has created a rich and compelling portrait of the eighteenth century genius who was in every respect America s first Renaissance man, and arguably the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America A fascinating and richly textured biography of the man who was perhaps the greatest of our Founding Fathers, The First American is history on a grand scale, as well as a major contribution to understanding Franklin and the world he helped to shape. 2 Best Book I Read in 2019 I m making my way through the history of the American Revolution by reading one book about every founding father So far I ve read Chernow s books on Hamilton and Washington, and this one by HW Brands.Each book has shown me the same exact stories and events but told through different eyes I m getting layers on top of layers, and it s been a lot of fun.With Hamilton you get an inside look at the creation of the federal government With Washington you see all the actio 2 Best Book I Read in 2019 I m making my way through the history of the American Revolution by reading one book about every founding father So far I ve read Chernow s books on Hamilton and Washington, and this one by HW Brands.Each book has shown me the same exact stories and events but told through different eyes I m getting layers on top of layers, and it s been a lot of fun.With Hamilton you get an inside look at the creation of the federal government With Washington you see all the action from the ground level But seeing everything from only their eyes makes you miss why everything got started up in the first place Through Franklin s life and writings and feuds you can see America s disaffection with England start to grow And not just grow, but morph from colonists who truly saw themselves as English, to Americans who saw themselves as the creators of something entirely new.That s the most interesting part of this book I never realized that independence wasn t really even considered by anybody at least by anybody whose opinion mattered at the time until much later in the feud And when the Declaration was finally written, nobody thought it would become a founding document that we are still feeling the shockwaves of today.Franklin is the perfect person to tell this story through, as he was truly a man of both sides of the Atlantic He was born and raised in the colonies, had family there, and all of his business interests were there But he spent most of his adult life in Europe, and felt most at home there His strongest friendships and relationships were there.Lots of fascinating stuff here The story of how Poor Richard and his Almanac came to be is great The story of Franklin before the Privy Counsel, answering for the release of the Hutchinson letters is probably the moment that revolution became inevitable This book was my first education on what the peace process between both sides was like at the conclusion of the war Also, this is the first time I ve had a real understanding of the Stamp Act and taxation without representation The best biography I ve ever read Franklin is so human I could walk into the next room and not be surprised to see him setting there.The biographer also makes a very compelling argument that Ben Franklin was the most indispensable figure in the American Revolutionary adventure Or at least tied with Washington.Most historians agree that without George Washington, there s nobody else who could ve stepped forward to successfully keep an army together, miraculously beat the most powerful country i The best biography I ve ever read Franklin is so human I could walk into the next room and not be surprised to see him setting there.The biographer also makes a very compelling argument that Ben Franklin was the most indispensable figure in the American Revolutionary adventure Or at least tied with Washington.Most historians agree that without George Washington, there s nobody else who could ve stepped forward to successfully keep an army together, miraculously beat the most powerful country in the world, and then step down when people were asking him to become emperor.After this book, though, you ll believe the war was unwinnable without Franklin nobody else could ve gotten the French to lend the US money and give naval support and others did try.Plus, of course, the man s life was fascinating A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as our rebellion It is only in the third person their rebellion that it becomes illegal. Ben FranklinTouching the history of the venerated Founding Fathers, who apparently descended from heaven to wage war against George III, is a difficult task So it was with trepidation that I started this book, wondering what new angle yet another biographer was going to try to discover By the time I finished it took me almost as long as the Re A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as our rebellion It is only in the third person their rebellion that it becomes illegal. Ben FranklinTouching the history of the venerated Founding Fathers, who apparently descended from heaven to wage war against George III, is a difficult task So it was with trepidation that I started this book, wondering what new angle yet another biographer was going to try to discover By the time I finished it took me almost as long as the Revolutionary War itselfthis is a big tome , I felt Mr Franklin was no longer a god but a self made guy I could relate to, albeit in a very respectful, reverent way.He was one of seventeen children 17 I mean, think of that There was no welfare system, no Google apps, no convenience stores How did a Founding Father emerge from that burden He was apprenticed to an older brother, but ran away, which made him a fugitive in New England, so he wound up in Pennsylvania, a colony run as a personal holding by the Penn family it isn t just Franklin we learn about in this book Then, Franklin began his extraordinary life I lost track of his inventions, of his process enhancements long before kaizen existed , of his frontier defense ideas, of his diplomatic victories, of his..it never ends.If the Brits had treated Franklin and his views withrespect, there probably wouldn t have been a consolidated revolution When he made the decision for independence, he never looked back John Adams and Thomas Jefferson led with passion, but The Sage was the one behind them, filling the gaps As the book explains, the Yanks didn t suddenly throw tea into the sea and demand the cutting of the cord from the Mother Countryresentment had been building for decades Faced with having to bear the physical and financial burden of fighting England s wars on their home soil, but then watching as the King and his cabinet made post fight decisions without regard to the feelings of the colonists, the Ben Franklins and George Washingtons slowly turned from loyal subjects to disgruntled rebels The waves do not rise, but when the winds blow.I think what I liked about this book, and Franklin himself, was his outlook He wasn t one of the high born southerners or British ground swillers In essence, he embodied the middle class, the shopkeepers of the world As he created his own wealth, he understood its use was to purchase one s own freedom Freedom to travel, freedom to eat what one wants, freedom to work or not work, freedom to choose one s own doctor, freedom to read the books one wants to read, freedom to print the books one wants to print He never patented his inventions, as he felt they should be available to help all, not just the 1 percenters of the world We ve spawned a new race Rougher, simplerviolent,enterprising less refined We re a new nationality We require a new nation. This book takes that path, to help us understand the man behind the man Franklin could be infuriating he stayed overseas instead of coming home to his dying wife, he severed all ties with his Loyalist son , but he was right and far, far ahead of his time It s a LONG read, but worth it.Plus, it helped me get past the Ben Franklin of the movie musical, whom I have always loved because he was the one Founding Father I could envision singing and dancing on a staircase while the United States was being founded Book Season Autumn kites and storms W Brands The First American The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was published in 2000 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist Brands is a professor of history and government at the University of Texas and a prolific author He has written nearly three dozen books including biographies of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Ronald Reagan each of which I have read and reviewed.Given its encyclopedic breadth and scholarly bent, T W Brands The First American The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin was published in 2000 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist Brands is a professor of history and government at the University of Texas and a prolific author He has written nearly three dozen books including biographies of Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and Ronald Reagan each of which I have read and reviewed.Given its encyclopedic breadth and scholarly bent, The First American has largely supplanted Carl Van Doren s 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning classic as the standard biography of Franklin With 716 pages of text and studious attention to every major facet of Franklin s unusually varied and interesting life, Brands biography is comprehensive, detailed and incredibly thoughtful.It is quickly obvious that this distinguished Founding Father is a somewhat elusive biographical subject a man of many talents who remains enigmatic due to his apparent affinity for contradictions and failure to chronicle his own innermost thoughts during a life situated on the front row of so much early American history.Nevertheless, Brands is able to craft a rich narrative which explores the familiar features of Franklin s life and captures many of the nuances which will have eluded readers who have never undertaken a serious study of the man Among the many excellent aspects of this biography are stories of young Franklin s journey to Philadelphia from Boston, his earliest weeks as an up and coming printer and his introduction to a notoriously unreliable governor of Pennsylvania.A later chapter devoted largely to chronicling his playful pursuit of a number of much younger French ladies and the ongoing exploration of Franklin s relationship with his oldest son are incredibly revealing But the most thought provoking observations are those related to Franklin s lifelong efforts to maintain allegiance to the American colonies while preserving his friendly status and strong personal relationships in Britain.But as interesting as this book can be, it is neither an effortless nor a particularly carefree read The author s writing style is penetrating and thoughtful but not consistently captivating or colorful And because it possesses a distinct scholarly quality some readers will find it a bit too erudite if not abstruse.In addition, Brands helpfully supplies background and context which can be useful for anyone unfamiliar with 18th century history But occasional context quickly morphs into relentless tangents which distract from the narrative and cause the reader to lose sight of the bigger picture Finally, despite the author s efforts to paint a robust and vibrant portrait of his subject, Benjamin Franklin remains stubbornly perplexing and mysterious afterthan seven hundred pages.Overall, H W Brands The First American is a solid biography of one of America s most fascinating Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin s eccentricities and contradictions seem to confound even the most determined of biographers Nevertheless, readers with an interest in early American life or with one of America s most intriguing personalities will find this biography compelling and enlightening.Overall rating 3 stars This biography of Franklin is billed as comprehensive and it certainly is that It would seem to contain essentially every thing that is known about the great man s life I would say it is a must read for anyone interested in American history Even though it is a huge book.By the title, Brands makes the case that it is Franklin who most deserves the credit for the steps that led to the creation of the American republic Washington, of course, deserves the credit for winning the war, but who got This biography of Franklin is billed as comprehensive and it certainly is that It would seem to contain essentially every thing that is known about the great man s life I would say it is a must read for anyone interested in American history Even though it is a huge book.By the title, Brands makes the case that it is Franklin who most deserves the credit for the steps that led to the creation of the American republic Washington, of course, deserves the credit for winning the war, but who got it started is the question.Before reading this work I had believed that it was John Adams who deserved most of the credit, probably because I had readabout Adams than Franklin I also knew that Franklin was a libertine which I don t like.However, Brands has convinced me that it is indeed Franklin who most merits the credit for the birth of my country In fact it is likely that because he was a libertine he got along with the French so well and secured their critical assistance when John Adams could not.Reading the detail of Franklin s dealings with the British government as agent for the colonies in London, leading up to the split, makes me thank our lucky American stars for the incredible arrogance, stupidity and greed of parliament and George III If they had any foresight London would today be the capitol of the greatest nation on earth, albeit with most of the population on the other side of the Atlantic Franklin was arguing for unification and the British governement said, no you are our possession I haven t read any of the author s other works, so I can t comment on how his style and craft may be evolving, but this book is well written, well thought out, and as far as I can discern, well researched.Like most people, I ve known of Franklin all my life well, less about 6 years And, like most people, I also knew he flew a kite in an electrical storm which seems rather foolhardy to down right dangerous, if you understand what the quantity of power in a typical lightning strike is , invent I haven t read any of the author s other works, so I can t comment on how his style and craft may be evolving, but this book is well written, well thought out, and as far as I can discern, well researched.Like most people, I ve known of Franklin all my life well, less about 6 years And, like most people, I also knew he flew a kite in an electrical storm which seems rather foolhardy to down right dangerous, if you understand what the quantity of power in a typical lightning strike is , invented the lightning rod, was a printer by trade, wrote and published Poor Richard s Almanac , invented the Franklin stove , had something to do with the U.S Postal System, and was a diplomat in France at some point.Unlike most people, I also knew that he was honored by having his name engraved into the assembly hall of the Boston Latin School and in the 7th grade was required to read The Autobiography of Ben Franklin along with another colonial thriller, Johnny Tremain.What I learned from this book was a great deal To go over all of the specifics would probably take a sizable fraction of the book itself So, I ll restrict my comments to a few choice morsels.Franklin spent years in both England and France I mean years Ok, I knew about when he was young and drank water while all his co workers drank lots of beer in a print shop in England He was there for extended visits in both countries England first before actual armed rebellion and then France Heck, he even planned on living in England permanently because he was so well accepted and so pleased with the culture, intellectual environment and big city life.Franklin s experiment with the kite was well designed to minimize risks to the experimenter, but others repeated it and at at least one got a serious shock chalk one up to the stunningly obvious But, the kite experiment was one of a series that helped define that various phenomena were all interrelated and described the same basic, underlying principle or forces.All of Franklin s real innovation and contribution to the organization and operation of the Postal Service came during decades of part time effort as a Royal appointee His work with the post revolutionary USPS was basically to restore the fine operation that he had already created.Franklin did not patent and essentially gave away the plans for the Franklin fireplace i.e stove to help people heat the homes with less fuel and with less money.I could go on and on, but if anything I ve written here intrigues you, go out and read the book And, yes, I liked it An excellent biography of an amazing person Deeply researched, it revelas all the aspects of Franklin s life, especially those he glossed over in his autobiography. Benjamin Franklin s story is the story of an exceptionally gifted and interesting man For H.W Brands, a professor of history at Texas A M University, he is the central figure of an era marked by sweeping change because he was involved in so many other aspects of his rapidly changing world beyond political revolution By the time revolution shook America, Franklin had already earned worldwide fame Had there never been an American Revolution, it is likely that few of the Founding Fathers would Benjamin Franklin s story is the story of an exceptionally gifted and interesting man For H.W Brands, a professor of history at Texas AM University, he is the central figure of an era marked by sweeping change because he was involved in so many other aspects of his rapidly changing world beyond political revolution By the time revolution shook America, Franklin had already earned worldwide fame Had there never been an American Revolution, it is likely that few of the Founding Fathers would be remembered today yet Franklin was an extraordinary man even in ordinary times His reputation was assured by his inventions, discoveries, and literary activities As Brands writes, Franklin was by far the most famous American in the world Although Franklin s father only had enough money to send him to school for two years, young Ben diligently continued his own education through voracious reading Thus, Franklin became a true Renaissance man with many areas of knowledge He made several contributions to science electricity, meteorology , inventions bifocal lenses, the Franklin stove, a remote grabber , and public institutions the American Philosophical Society, the University of Pennsylvania, the U.S Post Office, the first subscription library in America, Philadelphia s first fire company But Brands places his greatest emphasis on Benjamin Franklin s development as a politician and statesman wartime minister to France, senior peace negotiator with Britain, participant at the Constitutional Convention It was Franklin who persuaded France to become an American ally, which ultimately led to his country s victory in its war for independence While there is much of interest to learn from Brand s biography Franklin, the book at times seemed to move along too slowly Some days the narrative seemed flat I would often lose interest and only read 20 pages in a day Too often, we get an uninspired, unfocused record of Franklin s interests and accomplishments The author never explores deeply into Franklin s character He does not seriously examine Franklin s lax attitude toward his family Why did he spend nearly 18 years apart from his wife, Deborah, while serving on foreign posts Why was he reluctant to reconcile with his son William after his loyalist politics left them estranged Too much space is devoted to Franklin s roguish and not terribly significant adventures Had it not been for this lack of focus, this biography would easily have earned five stars A monumental yet eminently readable biography of arguably the most impressive and important of the early figures in American history Written in a very clear style, the book moves along, drawing the reader into wanting to know the next events in this very fascinating life VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND FromHe was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is littlethan a mythic caricature in the public imagination Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revol A monumental yet eminently readable biography of arguably the most impressive and important of the early figures in American history Written in a very clear style, the book moves along, drawing the reader into wanting to know the next events in this very fascinating life VERY HIGHLY RECOMMEND FromHe was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is littlethan a mythic caricature in the public imagination Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography.Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America s first Renaissance man From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured America s independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the world s most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H W Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth century genius A much needed reminder of Franklin s greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy Absolutely loved this book Franklin was then and always will be a fascinating man I would definitely recommend this book "/>
  • Hardcover
  • 768 pages
  • The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
  • H.W. Brands
  • English
  • 18 March 2019
  • 0385493282