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The First American

759 pages, 2000

biographies & memoirs

biographies & memoirs

997 books
economics & politics

economics & politics

987 books


999 books

In the first comprehensive biography of Benjamin Franklin in over sixty years, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands brings vividly to life one of the most delightful, bawdy, brilliant, original, and influential figures in American history.

A groundbreaking scientist, leading businessman, philosopher, bestselling author, inventor, diplomat, politician, and wit, Benjamin Franklin was perhaps the most beloved and celebrated American of his age or age.

Now, in a beautifully written and meticulously researched account of Franklin's life and times, his clever repartee, generous spirit, and earthy wisdom are brought compellingly to the page. His circle of friends and acquaintances extended around the globe, from Cotton Mather to Voltaire, Edmund Burke to King George III, and Sir Isaac Newton to Immanuel Kant.

Franklin was gifted with a restless curiosity, and his scientific experiments with electric currents and the weather made him the leading pioneer in the new field of electricity on both sides of the Atlantic; among his many inventions were the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the harmonica, a musical instrument that became the rage of Europe.

Understanding Benjamin Franklin

In 'The First American', H.W. Brands paints a vivid picture of Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential figures in American history. He shows us that Franklin was not just an inventor and statesman, but also a complex individual with his own set of flaws and virtues.

The Birth of American Identity

The book explores how Franklin's life and work contributed to the formation of American identity. It's a great read if you want to dig deeper into the roots of American values and principles.

Franklin's Role in American Revolution

Brands takes us on a journey through Franklin's role in the American Revolution. He was not just a bystander but a key player who used his diplomatic skills to secure French support, which was crucial for the success of the revolution.

Franklin's Scientific Contributions

The book also sheds light on Franklin's scientific contributions. He was a true polymath who made significant advancements in various fields, including electricity and meteorology. Check out the book to see how his scientific mind influenced his political thought.

Franklin's Personal Life

Brands doesn't shy away from exploring Franklin's personal life. He delves into his relationships, his struggles, and his personal growth. This gives us a more rounded view of Franklin, making him more relatable and human.

Quotes 5

The First American is a comprehensive and compelling piece of work that tells the story of Benjamin Franklin in a way that no other book has.

Joseph J. EllisJoseph J. Ellis - Historian, Author

Brands' book is a masterful biography, providing a deep insight into the life and times of Benjamin Franklin.

Walter IsaacsonWalter Isaacson - Biographer, Journalist

The First American is a remarkable achievement, a book that brings Franklin to life and helps us understand his enduring legacy.

Gordon S. WoodGordon S. Wood - Historian, Author

Brands' book is a vivid and engaging exploration of one of America's most fascinating founding fathers.

David McCulloughDavid McCullough - Author, Historian

The First American is a captivating read, shedding new light on the life of Benjamin Franklin and his impact on American history.

Doris Kearns GoodwinDoris Kearns Goodwin - Historian, Author
Joseph J. EllisWalter IsaacsonGordon S. WoodDavid McCulloughDoris Kearns Goodwin


Ev Williams

Ev Williams

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498 books

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