Baker & Taylor A leading historian of the American Revolution offers an incisive portrait of the complex, often contradictory figure of Benjamin Franklin, a man who was at once the quintessential American and a cosmolitan lover of Europe, a one-time loyalist turned revolutionary, and an ambassador whose French diplomacy, crucial to the American cause, became a source of suspicion at home. 150,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer Central to America's idea of itself is the character of Benjamin Franklin. We all know him, or think we do: in recent works and in our inherited conventional wisdom, he remains fixed in place as a genial polymath and self-improver who was so very American that he is known by us all as "the first American." The problem with this beloved notion of Franklin's quintessential Americanness, Gordon Wood shows us in this book, is that it's simply not true. And it blinds us to the no less admirable or important but far more interesting man Franklin really was and leaves us powerless to make sense of the most crucial events of his life: his preoccupation with becoming a gentleman, his longtime loyalty to the Crown and burning ambition to be a player in the British Empire's power structure, the personal character of his conversion to revolutionary, his reasons for writing the Autobiography, his controversies with John and Samuel Adams and with Congress, his love of Europe and conflicted sense of national identity, the fact that his death was greeted by mass mourning in France and widely ignored in America. Gordon Wood argues that Franklin did become the Revolution's necessary man, second behind George Washington. Why was his importance so denigrated in his own lifetime and his image so distorted ever since? The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin is a fresh vision of Franklin's life and reputation, filled with insights into the Revolution and into the emergence of America's idea of itself.
Baker & Taylor Offers a portrait of the complex, often contradictory figure of Benjamin Franklin, a man who was at once the quintessential American and a cosmopolitan lover of Europe, and a one-time loyalist turned revolutionary.