The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
He was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is little more than 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 ...more
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.
Touching 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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
Update: Turns out I'm not a big fan of the Vook format, at least for recreational reading. I suppose I'm too retro, equate reading with "quiet time."
I like taking books, and ebooks, to public places. Unless I want to wear earbuds, I'm not co ...more
Brands does not hesitat ...more
Ok all my excuses are finished, what about the book. I personally prefer learning about history through the lens of biography. Given ...more
The other thing that was interesting to me about this book was seeing the events of the American birth play out as they did. I think we credit our country to this philosophical and moral giants...when in reality(t ...more
This is a book which requires concentrated time if you want to take in all of the information included in this book. Whenever I pick it up to read a chapter, I am completely engrossed and lose track of time.
Benjamin Franklin had such an interesting life, and Brands does a good job of documenting his many accomplishments. He also, though, manages to dig deeper and venture into the realms of the more personal and interior, including Franklin's evolving feelings about religion ...more
Benjamin Franklin was The First American as the title of the book by H.W. Brands suggests. On his road to becoming the first American, Brands argues that Franklin considered himself British and intended to settle in London and live out his life until a course of events set in place by the times altered his life path. The work covers Franklin’s life from birth and ends with his death the night of April 17, 1790. Brands exposition of Franklin removes him from the historical folk character every sc...more
Fantastisch boek. Lange zit, dat wel...
There's a reason why he's on the hundred dollar bill.
Now to reviewing this biography (I'll call it TFA). It's very well written, and easy enough to read. It's also LONG (800 dense pages). Now, Ben lived 84 ...more
I'll call the first aspect the historical/narrative component of the book. Brands is concise when discussing non-Franklin events; the descriptions never feel like winding detours, which is normally something with which I take issue in historical biographies. The book expanded my ...more
The parts I really enjoyed were in the last one third of the book that dealt with his later life (the book is written chronologically). Specifically Franklin's conversion from Anglophile to Francophile which led both directly and indirectly to his embrace of the American Experience and his insistence on independence f ...more