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The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  28 reviews
They were the most famous men in America.  They came from separate countries, followed different philosophies, and led dissimilar lives. But they were fast friends. No two people did more to shape America in the mid-1700s.

Benjamin Franklin was the American prototype: hard-working, inventive, practical, funny, with humble manners and lofty dreams. George Whitefield was the
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Thomas Nelson
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, ebook, history
“Franklin was a newspaperman and Whitefield was news.” John R. Williams

A remarkable study of the two men who most shaped the personality of American before the Revolution. Today one is a cultural icon, the other unknown; then Whitefield was better known than Franklin.

“Not only a sense of charity, but of empowerment.”

Sympathetic descriptions of the motives, actions and goals of all parties. He is especially positive to both explicate and reconcile the differences between Franklin and Whitefield.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Besides a lot of speculation about events in Franklin's and Whitefield's lives and relationship, Petersen makes a good case for his suggestion that these two men together are responsible for the architecture of American life, culture and spirituality. It is an easy and enjoyable read, and full of great historical information to help initiate the reader to the 18th century context in which these influential men made their contributions.
Bob Allen
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review is fairly critical of Peterson's book. However, let me state at the beginning, that I enjoyed the book a lot, even with all the things that I find wrong with it. If I ignore the fact that I think Peterson failed to demonstrate his premise that a friendship between Franklin and Whitefield "invented America", he does a good job of showing how these two men exerted a powerful influence on the unique character of the emerging American nation. Many of these character traits have continued i ...more
Jimmy Reagan
Jul 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Here is the merging of two categories of reading that, if you are like me, you enjoy–Christian biography and Colonial America. You get in this volume two prominent characters in those categories–George Whitefield and Ben Franklin. It is a pleasing, somewhat stretched, and breezy read.

His premise that the friendship of these two men “invented” America failed, but the book did not. These two men made distinct contributions to what became America, and they even had some sort of friendship, but the
Paige Gordon
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This book offered a fascinating look at the friendship between two highly influential men in America's history. It was really cool to learn more about each of these great men and the role they played in helping prepare America for the challenges of the Revolution and the founding of the country as we know it. Very interesting history that is well written and easy to ready.

Favorite Quote: "Character was the key issue for both George and Ben. Qualities such as diligence, discipline, trustworthine
Carl  Palmateer
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting always a few new things to learn. I never knew Ben Franklin was a friend of Cotton Mather, not of great import for the book but it does broaden the background of Ben. A tale of the two and their acquaintance, partnership and eventual friendship while weaving in and out of colonial America. We forget Ben's earlier days and the influence of a preacher on the forming of the national character is something swept past by the tide. How the two worked together and what they wrought is a fas ...more
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great look at two of the most influential men of the colonial age of America. The interaction between these two great men is fascinating and sheds light on the importance of each of them in the forming of the United States. Both genius in their own way, their contributions are difficult to exaggerate. Well worth the time. Highly recommend.
Tim Downs
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Enlightening with regard to the relationship of the two principle forefathers on the American experiment. I am deeply impressed with the work of Whitfield and the relationship that he shared with Franklin. A very good read. Highly recommend.
Lee Button
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Well-crafted stories of Whitefield and Franklin weaved together. Petersen shows the depth of their friendship and the impact each had on the founding of America. Theirs was an unlikely union because of their common principles. Glad I read this one.
Steven Northover
This book was fun to read. I have tried other books about Franklin. I wish I had started with this one. Now that I have completed it I will move on to other authors.
Christopher Archibald
I keep saying I’m not one for history and somehow I keep gravitating toward this specific genre. The nondenominational evangelist and the nondenominational Renaissance man somehow cultivate a mutually-beneficial business relationship that blossoms into a mutually-enriching friendship.
Michele Morin
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s a delightful alchemy that takes geography and the events of historical context, and then blends in the like-mindedness and the variations of two distinct personalities. Common enough, this is the science of friendship that is traced and recorded by Randy Petersen in The Printer and the Preacher because, every once in a while, the melding of a friendship has historical impact, a synergy that is greater than the sum of its participants. Such was the case with George Whitefield and Benjamin Fr ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America by Randy Peterson is a book that attempts to explore the friendship of George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin and how that relationship affected the coming united American states. I have read some biographies on Whitefield (Dallimore's) and knew of Franklin's correspondence with Whitefield, and thought that the topic of this book looked interesting.

Sadly, this book did not satisfy
Kathy Dickson
History come to life

Very interesting history. America truly was and is a place that God will preserve if the people will look to Him for guidance.
Victor Gentile
Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Randy Petersen in his new book “The Printer and the Preacher” published by Thomas Nelson gives us Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America.

From the back cover: Social mobility. Religious freedom. Hard work over class. We take these values for granted, but colonial America had to learn them. How? Under the care and nurture of two remarkable men: a printer and a preacher.

Preaching in public spaces across the colonies, George Whitfield inspired the first
Julius McCarter
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Randy Petersen's The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America is a rare thing. It is a biography of a friendship. What's more, this friendship is among the rarest in American history: That of the devout Great Awakening preacher, George Whitefield, and the Deist, Ben Franklin. This friendship demonstrates all the wonders of a genuine friendship because both men sustained that friendship despite their extremely different ideas a ...more
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Travel Back in Time

A lot of well-researched history will be found between the covers of this book. The author presents much in-depth information about both Ben Franklin and George Whitefield, individually. This includes the time of their birth, along with what their parents were like, their family structure, and relationships with their siblings.

There is a tremendous amount of background data about the society of the day, including people, events and religion. The events that took place in both
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
For as much as I love history, there always seems to be a key player or two who I have never heard of and then I feel like a fake fan. One such example? George Whitefield. We’ll just blame my Church history professor on my lack of knowledge. After this book though, all that has changed.

“Whitefield and Franklin were not just the two most famous people in America in their time – they were also the most significant. The effects of their lives and their work are still being felt today.”

There was pl
Miriam Jacob
Jul 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
by Randy Peterson

This is the historic story of a fascinating and highly unlikely friendship that invented America. George Whitefield laid its spiritual foundation while Benjamin Franklin built its social foundation. Two most famous men from different countries with different philosophies, George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin defined in their own unique ways what it really means to be a true American.

Whoever thought that a printer and a preacher would have such an
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Benjamin Franklin and George Whitfield. One a preacher, the other was considered a Deist. Two men who seemed to be drawn into different directions becoming friends as America was becoming her own nation.

This book gives account of the lives of these two men and how they became friends for three decades. The influence they had on each other is made clear in this book and serves to show how much fr
Hannah Woupio
Disclaimer: I don't read a lot of non-fiction
I didn't really enjoy it very much. It wasn't horrible, and there were parts that held my interest, but I found it kind of rabbit-trail-y, a bit repetitive, and really, there's a nice helping of conjecture in this book. I mean, yeah, nobody was there to see what actually happened, but the author pulls some mentions from letters and journals and creates little tales of stuff that "might have" happened in whatever circumstances. I get that he didn't rea
Jason Stanley
Mar 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Billed as a “groundbreaking look” at the friendship between the preacher George Whitfield and the printer (and anything else he wanted to be) Benjamin Franklin. The publisher goes on to say that this relationship “defined what it means to be an American.”

Petersen introduces Franklin and Whitfield in a chronological matter. He traces their early and formative years in a parallel matter, showing how their lives were similar even though they were an ocean apart. For Petersen, there are recurring th
Steve Wiggins
Aug 11, 2015 rated it liked it
An interesting study of how Benjamin Franklin and George Whitefield became a set of unlikely friends. At times the case seems to be a bit forced, with several "might have"s and "maybe"s. We don't have a lot of evidence to go on that the two were close, but they certainly respected each other and had a fondness for one another. It is worth the read, although it raises many questions while answering a few others. I say more about it on my blog: Sects and Violence in the Ancient World.
A Holland Reads
This was a very interesting book. I enjoyed reading Benjamin's biography as well as George's. I did not know who George was before reading this book. I have learned some more history by reading this book. There were parts of this book that read quickly and parts that were kind of dry. But the book was packed full of information and a good book for a history lover like me. I am glad I got the chance to read this book.
Dawn Hanna
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book so much that I must share this review! I learned more about Ben Franklin & much more about George Whitefield whose name I barely recognized. I have always admired Ben and the history of America's Christian Faith was inspirational. As an American & born again believer in Christ I appreciated all that I could learn about these 2 men from R Petersen.
Amy Talbott
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I must admit this book surprised me. I did not really see how a comparison of George Whitefield and Benjamin Franklin would make for an interesting read. Yet I found this book to be a compelling view into not only our nations political and social history but also into our nations religious background. This is an interesting book. If you enjoy history this is a good one.
Sarah Webber
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
I knew very little about either men before opening this book, so I enjoyed this comparison of America's first celebrities. And I found the argument that Franklin & Whitefield were between them inventing America convincing. Very interesting.
Nathan Schneider
What a fun read! Ben Franklin and George Whitefield were friends that may have shaped America more than any others. Fascinating history of their friendship, -1770.
Russell Kyncl
rated it it was amazing
Jun 24, 2015
Nancy R Granducci
rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2016
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