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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Abridged Audiobook

Written By: Walter Isaacson

Narrated By: Boyd Gaines

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: July 2003

Duration: 7 hours 0 minutes


Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us -- an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.
In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.
The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a 'dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people.' Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.
In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.


  • Joseph C

    Awesome telling of this historical legend! Highly recommended.

  • William Beatty

    enjoyed this telling of an iconic legand. surprising tidbits and oddities that i was unaware of. worth the listen.

  • ksiliven

    I really enjoyed this book! It brought the history alive and made me want to listen.

  • Hilary

    ... of people I would love to have diner with. He invented the middle class and had faith in ordinary people in a way no modern American politician does -- especially the king of hope himself. The bureaucrats and serial legislators in DC and all state capitals would be well-advised to read this biography and aspire to be like Franklin.

  • Deb

    I wish I hadn't read this book because my opinion of Benjamin Franklin would have remained high. Learning about the real man has enlightened me that in truth he really wasn't a "nice guy".

  • Anonymous

    Parts of this were really good but it failed to hold my interest after awhile

  • Anonymous

    Ben Franklin is such an amazing man that no matter who writes about his life, it is bound to be an interesting story. So I did enjoy this book. It is easy to listen to despite the fact it contains a lot of historical information. I didn't really know that much about Franklin and found him an incredibly fascinating individual.

  • Anonymous

    Being a huge history buff I wanted to love it....really. I just found it a bit too scholarly and the narrator was just okay.

  • Anonymous

    I thought that this was very interesting, it kept me entertained. Ben Franklin really deserves to be on the hundred.

  • doc

    excellent, informative and a must if you enjoy history

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

by Walter Isaacson

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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, Walter Isaacson