THE PRIVATE FRANKLIN: The Man and His Family by Claude-Anne and Eugenia W. Herbert Lopez

THE PRIVATE FRANKLIN: The Man and His Family

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Benjamin Franklin, the man whom Immanuel Kant called ""The Prometheus of Modern Times,"" is best remembered as the Founding Father who wrote the Poor Richard's Almanac, invented the Franklin stove and the lightning rod, organized the colonial postal system, and established the American Philosophical Society. Yet he was also the man who fathered an illegitimate son, missed his only daughter's wedding, refused to acknowledge his son-in-law, and wrote letters from England to his dead wife, because he was not aware that she had died during one of his longer absences. Lopez and Herbert, two Yale scholars, depict Ben Franklin as husband, father, and man, portraying a figure with ""some warts, some laurels, some sins, some virtues."" They try to present a Franklin who is ""neither demigod nor unfeeling egotist,"" but their book is not an attempt at psychohistory or psychobiography; rather they illuminate Franklin by examining him in the context of his familial relationships and indeed, an interesting profile emerges. We learn that on the eve of the American Revolution, Franklin's only son and daughter-in-law were preoccupied with securing stockings, bottled mustard, lace, dentifrice, and snuff. The authors have worked from original letters in Yale's Sterling Library, and they have composed an engaging account of both the Philadelphia printer and his family, and of life in colonial America, industrial England, and cosmopolitan Paris. Pleasant and easy to read.

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 1975
ISBN: 039330227X
Publisher: Norton