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The Franklin Affair

3.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  138 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Jim Lehrer's Tension City.

“Three may keep a secret if two of ’em are dead.”
–Poor Richard’s Almanack[pg. 27 of mss]

R Taylor arrives in Philadelphia for the funeral of his longtime friend Dr. Wally Rush with a heavy heart. Not only has the world lost one of its preeminent, Pulitzer Prize—winning American Revolution historians,
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Published April 26th 2005 by Random House (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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May 14, 2014 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Reviews found here seem to have lost the perspective that this book was written in 2005 in anticipation of the Bicentennial celebration of Ben Franklin's birthday in 2006, and might not have the same appeal these many years later. Much fiction is written for the moment, and not intended for the ages. For what is is, I found this book highly entertaining, and a wonderful remembrance of Ben in his bespectacled ordinary unordinariness, who would have also found the novel fascinating. Take the occas ...more
Mar 12, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a used book sale because I liked Jim Lehrer's bus books. I initially liked the book because of the way it poked (accurate) fun at the outsized egos and petty pretensions of some academics. You've seen/heard these guys interviewed on PBS/NPR many times. But then, in spite of myself, I wondered how the protagonist, R, one of the aforementioned academics, and the author, Lehr, would resolve both the historical and contemporary deceit and mystery. Fortunately, R followed old Ben' ...more
Candy Wood
Who would have thought that a mystery plot based on accusations of plagiarism among professional historians could work? Jim Lehrer clearly knows what he's writing about, whether it's petty academic intrigue, the occasional excitement of pursuing documentation of an obscure event, or the varieties of plagiarism itself. Examples make clear that the accused Reagan biographer, a female TV personality, really is guilty of what I call right-click plagiarism, keeping the sentence structure of the origi ...more
Sian Jones
Nov 11, 2008 Sian Jones rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
So, yes, the previous Lehrer mystery I read was only so-so, but it had a certain level of enjoyability. Enjoyability completely absent from this one. I have only one question -- does Jim Lehrer secretly (or not so secretly now) despise all historians? Because he sure writes like he thinks they're all creeps, which forced me to wonder -- in horror -- is the beloved Jim Lehrer actually a creep himself and therefore unable to recognize when he is writing a creep? His main character asks the woman h ...more
Feb 28, 2015 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book about Franklin and other historians probably deserves more a 4.5 stars. I laughed in so many places while reading this today. Our evening book group will be discussing this week and I look forward to others' opinions. This satire of historical writing had me enthralled from the middle of the book on.
Now, I most definitely want to see the Craven Street house where Ben lived while in London.
Highly recommended!!
Jan 24, 2015 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read a biography of Ben Franklin and then decided to read some historical fiction novels about his life. I enjoyed this book as the author has his character try to uncover the truth about Franklin's son as well as his relationships with women. Franklin, a brilliant and creative man, is portrayed as a man torn between his family and his work. The author has taken an American icon and made him human as we see his strengths and his weaknesses. For those who like American history or who w ...more
Suzanne Auckerman
Howard loaned me this book and it was more of a novella than novel, but it was about historians, who dedicate their whole career to study one person. In this the main character was enthralled with Franklin, the woman he was living with was studying Hancock.
Aug 05, 2009 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not particularly well written, but I found it interesting because it was about historians dealing with the revolutionary period. The hero is an independent historian who has been instrumental in resuscitating Franklin's reputation as one of the foremost revolutionary heroes. He's on a committee charged with determining the guilt or innocence of an obnoxious colleague who's charged with plagiarism. Meanwhile, his mentor dies & leaves him a lead to a set of documents that threaten to u ...more
Like all of Lehrer's fiction, this book is intelligent, well paced, entertaining and a litle "lite." It has some gaps, sometimes the characters do things that make no sense, but usually things move along believably and with good pace and suspense. This one is about history buffs obsessed with Benjamin Franklin, and the author was actually was able to make me believe that these characters weren't total losers who needed to get a life.... However, one of the themes of the book is "famous people wh ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Sandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Not really very good.... I did not like the main character and I found I was not to keen on the writing style... all kind of a drag as I really respect and like Jim Lehrer.... I did however, learn a fair amount about Ben Franklin, a man who has never struck my fancy nor compels me now. Oh well. I won't seek them out, but if I came across one of Lehrer's other books, I'll probably read it just to see if it's any better....
Jan 30, 2012 Lise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best things I've read in a long time! Interesting characters, believable plot, invisible craftsmanship... I'm so glad to discover Jim Lehrer, the author, since Jim Lehrer, the broadcaster, is a trusted friend! As the daughter of a historian, I heard many familiar voices in this book. I look forward to sampling more Lehrer.
May 13, 2011 J rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
and one half stars.

Reading this book is like plowing a field full of rocks.

Every time you plow and hit a rock with that knowing sound, Kaa-ding,
you have to stop and clear the rock.

In other words, story does not flow naturally.

May 14, 2014 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-fiction
I plucked this book form the clearance shelves and spent a quiet afternoon finishing it. What a fun surprise! The intrigue wasn't too taxing and the plot moved fairly quickly--a nice bit of fluff to enjoy on the patio in summer.
Feb 02, 2008 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction/mystery fans
Recommended to Caroline by: Dad
Shelves: fiction, historical
Jim Lehrer writes a compelling tale of a historian who grapples with information that conflicts with history's popular view of Benjamin Franklin. Laden with historical references this is a fine mystery and an enjoyable read.
Jun 26, 2012 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fairly entertaining novel -- but I wish I knew how much of it is historically accurate and how much is just embellishment or outright lies? Did Benjamin Franklin have a hand in killing his son's mother?
Jun 20, 2008 Andi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book and I enjoyed reading it. But the end was not very satisfying. There were a lot of loose ends that were not tied up.
Aug 27, 2010 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dry as dust, but Lehrer is a good writer, this was just too academic for my entertainment.
Jeremy Wood
no real pay off to this book. good story telling that, by the end, has really gone nowhere
Amy G.
Aug 22, 2008 Amy G. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was alright..a 2 night read..only 200 pages. Wouldn't recommend it, though!
Dec 22, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Entertaining look at scholars and at Franklin.
Jul 25, 2011 Dot rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was OK. It was all I had on a plane trip.
Sep 05, 2007 Joann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history/mystery buffs
a cute, simple version of "National Treasure"
Mar 21, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lehrer is a captivating author.
Jul 08, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
it is a modern day mystery
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 Beth Shields-Szostak marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed by author
Aug 06, 2013 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light reading.
Michael marked it as to-read
Jul 10, 2016
Carol added it
Jun 18, 2016
Hollie added it
Jun 10, 2016
Amelia marked it as to-read
May 31, 2016
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True Fiction, or Ficticious Truth? 1 1 May 14, 2014 11:38AM  
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James Charles Lehrer is an American journalist and the news anchor for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, known for his role as a frequent debate moderator during elections. Lehrer is an author of non-fiction and fiction, drawing from his experiences and interests in history and politics.

More about Jim Lehrer...

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