Nate Cooley's Reviews > Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson
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's review
Feb 08, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-highly-recommend
Read in June, 2005

Probably the best biographical source on Benjamin Franklin is straight fron the horses mouth . . . his Autobiography. However, Isaacson's book is definitely an engaging read and fairly exhaustive.

My initial impression is that the author is careful in not falling into the a trap that so many biographers often do, in that they deify their protagonist. Isaacson takes an objective approach to Franklin and enumerates his many flaws (or at least what most would perceive as flaws when attributed to one of the American founders). More specifically, Franklin is repeatedly, and appropriately, described as less than a perfect father or husband. Furthermore, he is also appropriately described as having a substantial veneration for France, which in today's plotical climate is not an attribute most Americans would want to attribute to one of the leading founders.

Summarily, Isaacson's book is an excellent narrative of Franklin's life from beginning to end. It is a great starting point for any study of Franklin. It is a bare bones assessment of the man who was determined to be one of the "Greatest Americans" of all time, though he himself was unsure of his identity until later on in life.
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