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I finished "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" today. Since I became interested in America history, I have read biographies of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton and, now, Franklin. None really entered my heart, though Adams is the one I have most affection for. I think I'm not too fond of them because they spent a while kick British butt while they were alive.

This book is a thorough biography of Ben Franklin. It starts with his early life, covers his escapades in printing, his literary and scientific pretensions (though I'm more inclined to argue he was an inventor rather than a scientist), his slow conversion to being an advocate for American nationhood and his post war ambassadorship roles.

In each period in his life,Franklin is presented as a dedicated, hard working humourous man, who was committed to what he believed in. You get a good sense of what he is like and why he's important. If you're interested in him and his impact on American history, you can do a lot much worse than this book.

So why am I so ho-hum about the guy? Well it's the way that he treats his family I have concerns about. He never formally "made an honest women" out of his wife by marrying her. He had illegitimate children (who he really screwed after the War of Independence), and flirted heavily with anything in a skirt.

Given how I view family, I'm sorry to say that he was lessened in my eyes by this book. I wanted a little bit of hero worship. When I didn't get it, I found myself getting more and more disconcerted by the book. If you can overlook how he treated his family, you'll enjoy this book. If you can't get round his attitudes to family, don't read it because his family issues will only get in the way.

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jamiebowen0306
jamiebowen0306

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