Wood, Gordon S. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Penguin, 2004.
Benjamin Franklin celebrates a birthday in January (on the 17th day in the year 1706 to be precise; in other words, today); hence my reading of his biography (one of many on my list).
Let me say first and foremost that Mr. Franklin is a personal hero of mine for advocating for libraries so much! If it were not for him who knows where my profession would be. I do not, however, approve of his treatment of his wife Deborah. Can you imagine being married to someone who insisted on living in a different country (and only returns home after your death)? Even Franklin’s friends made no mention of Deborah’s passing after he returned to America.
Wood’s biography deals mostly with Franklin’s political aspirations and most pointedly, his “switch” from supporting Britain to supporting America (hence “americanization” in the title). Of course, Franklin’s involvement in postal services and electricity were also touched upon, but only because they are important elements to Franklin’s history.
My favorite quotes:
“Things that struck him as new and odd were always worth thinking about, for experiencing them might advance the boundaries of knowledge” (p 62).
“…but Franklin thought the electrical charge necessary to kill large animals might end up killing the cook” (p 64).
“The degree of Franklin’s Revolutionary fervor and his loathing of the king surprised even John Adams, who was no slouch himself when it came to hating (p 154).
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust and the chapter called “Founding Fathers” (p 91).