Monday, March 29, 2010

The Real Benjamin Franklin

This is an okay book written by Andrew M. Allison. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston in 1706. At age 12 he was apprenticed to his brother James, a printer. After a disagreement with his brother he ran away in 1723 and took up lodging with John Read, where he met his future wife Deborah. In 1733, Franklin began to publish Poor Richard's Almanack. He was fascinated by science and made several discoveries and inventions. He started a volunteer firefighting company and also the Postal Service. He spent most of his life in politics and visited both England and France to represent the interests of the colonies.

The first half of the book gives an overview of Franklin's life and beliefs using summaries and quotes. The second half of the book includes Franklin's views on a variety of topics. I admire his focus on moderation, compromise, and diplomacy. I also like that he gave a lot to charity. He also refused to get patents on his inventions, because he wanted them solely for the public good. There is uncertainty about whether William Franklin was the son of Deborah Read or some other unknown woman.

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