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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Hardcover – 1 July 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,524 ratings

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Product description

Amazon.com Review

Benjamin Franklin, writes journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, was that rare Founding Father who would sooner wink at a passer-by than sit still for a formal portrait. What's more, Isaacson relates in this fluent and entertaining biography, the revolutionary leader represents a political tradition that has been all but forgotten today, one that prizes pragmatism over moralism, religious tolerance over fundamentalist rigidity, and social mobility over class privilege. That broadly democratic sensibility allowed Franklin his contradictions, as Isaacson shows. Though a man of lofty principles, Franklin wasn't shy of using sex to sell the newspapers he edited and published; though far from frivolous, he liked his toys and his mortal pleasures; and though he sometimes gave off a simpleton image, he was a shrewd and even crafty politician. Isaacson doesn't shy from enumerating Franklin’s occasional peccadilloes and shortcomings, in keeping with the iconoclastic nature of our time--none of which, however, stops him from considering Benjamin Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age," and one of the most admirable of any era. And here’s one bit of proof: as a young man, Ben Franklin regularly went without food in order to buy books. His example, as always, is a good one--and this is just the book to buy with the proceeds from the grocery budget. --Gregory McNamee

From Booklist

Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and even Adams stare down at you from Mt. Olympus. But Benjamin Franklin has always seemed the most accessible of our Founding Fathers. He looks out benignly from our $100 bill. He dispenses grandfatherly wisdom spiced with humor from Poor Richard's Almanac. Of course, Franklin was a complicated and interesting personality, as this book illustrates. Isaacson, formerly the CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time magazine, is currently president of the Aspen Institute. He has written a chronological biography that pays due tribute to Franklin's genius while revealing his harder edges. Franklin was clearly driven and supremely ambitious. In serving his ambition, he could be manipulative and a shameless self-promoter. His personal and political loyalties often shifted, yet he never forgave the "betrayal" when his illegitimate son remained loyal to Britain. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product details

  • Publisher : Simon & Schuster (1 July 2003)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0684807610
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0684807614
  • Item Weight : 966 g
  • Dimensions : 16.51 x 4.06 x 24.13 cm
  • Country of Origin : USA
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 1,524 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
1,524 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 29 October 2019
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Reviewed in India on 3 August 2017
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13 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 10 March 2018
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Reviewed in India on 26 September 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book of a Great Human written in a Great way
By Adns on 26 September 2017
Really inspiring and well written book.
Walter isaacson has done a great job taking throughout the life of Ben franklin in an adventurous way.
Loved it
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Reviewed in India on 15 July 2020
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Reviewed in India on 24 December 2018
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1.0 out of 5 stars Fraud may be
By abhishek on 24 December 2018
Dear Amazon,
The quality of pages and the page lines is very poor , it doesn't qualify as a hardcover book. This high cost book is made, cut and bind in a very bad manner. This product is a duplicate replica of the original book.
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Reviewed in India on 11 September 2020
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Reviewed in India on 9 June 2019
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Gazzarian
5.0 out of 5 stars Biography to live for
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 May 2018
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Susana H. Wheeler
5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven’t read this biography you are missing out.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 August 2019
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Key Perspective
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 April 2020
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JWilsonLLB
5.0 out of 5 stars Founding grandfather
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2013
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Mr.K
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 September 2016
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