If Benjamin Franklin had completed his autobiography, it would have born close resemblance to this superb biography, for Carl Van Doren has brought together all extant material from Franklin's pen, journals, letters, miscellaneous writings. And he has woven them together so that they create an impression of intimate contemporary records of one of the greatest of Americans. His was a colorful and crowded life. He is known throgh his autobiography, which covers only his early years as journeyman printer and rising tradesman; and beyond that the extraordinary rounding of a career as diplomat, statesman, scientist, philosopher, man of the world is familiar only in broad outlines. This book fills out the picture, showing him as a moving force in a complex world, a figure of international fame, a man of robust and vigorous endowments, a great man, with a great man's faults and virtues. Carl Van Doren is the ideal biographer. He has the power to put himself so thoroughly in the place of his subject that one feels that so Franklin lived and moved and thought and spoke and wrote. A masterly piece of scholarship, showing not only the years of research and planning, but the objectivity necessary in knowing what to include and what to omit, this finished work should rapidly take its place as the definitive life of Benjamin Franklin, and -- in this reader's opinion -- unescapably a candidate for a Pulitzer award.