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The Franklin Affair: A Novel
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The Franklin Affair: A Novel

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  25 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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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
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
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
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!!
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.
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
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....
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.
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.

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 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction/mystery fans
Recommended to Caroline by: Dad
Shelves: historical, fiction
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.
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?
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.
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.
It was alright..a 2 night read..only 200 pages. Wouldn't recommend it, though!
It was OK. It was all I had on a plane trip.
Sep 05, 2007 Joann rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history/mystery buffs
a cute, simple version of "National Treasure"
Lehrer is a captivating author.
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
Shane Belcher
Shane Belcher marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2015
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True Fiction, or Ficticious Truth? 1 1 May 14, 2014 11:38AM  
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...
Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy-Nixon to Obama-McCain Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination The Special Prisoner No Certain Rest The White Widow

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