Asher's Reviews > The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
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The inaugural book in the Harvard Classics collection-- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin-- represents quintessential early Americanism and the ideals that establish the identity of The United States. Dr. Franklin regales the reader with an exhaustive recollection of his life; his colonial era societal contributions, intimate thoughts on natural philosophy, and ultimately sculpting, in my opinion, the mastery of life.

The text reveals Franklin as a man of noticeable morality and conviction of character. He is an early lover of books, independently pursues the scholarship denied him by family limits. As the last child of a large family he learns the value of frugality, a skill that would lend useful in adulthood. A natural entrepreneur, which by heeding life lessons, he is able to maneuver his way into the upper networks of colonial society. Distinguished as honest and trustworthy, he enjoys a series of business successes, leading to privileges that enable further leisure in study and public service. His desire to improve himself based on ethics of philosophy, his avoidance of vices-- absent religious dogma-- stands as a role model for anyone of any culture or religion that aspire human perfection.

Exceptionally, given the enormity of his life, he is a person of relatively humble beginnings. He simply refused to be dissuaded by rank or birth station. One might suggest, fairly, that Franklin's life is the cornerstone to the modern American dream.

However, his disparaging opinion of Native Americans, enslaved Africans, and the working poor are transparent in this book's eurocentrism; which are contradictory to the philosophy of enlightenment. This autobiography further confirms, the common and erroneous viewpoint that blacks and the indigenous populations are separate entities from the American story, this premise fails in opportunity to reflect the complexities and interconnections of the tragedies and triumphs that create the shelf-hood, that is American identity.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is appropriate for all students and vital to anyone interested in history of the Americas. All and all I enjoyed this reading and am personally grateful for the legacy Benjamin Franklin gave our country. Dr. Benjamin Franklin lived eighty-four years, yet, his impact has proved eternal.

For its literary eloquence and historic value I'd rate this book 4 stars. One star deduction, however, for the scarce racism and anti-native sentiment. The accomplished experiment that is the United States is unparalleled, alas, it is not without flaw.

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Reading Progress

January 11, 2016 – Started Reading
January 11, 2016 – Shelved
January 11, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 18, 2016 – Finished Reading
August 18, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-book
October 17, 2017 – Shelved as: favorites

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