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With Yale University Press having under way the immense publication project of the complete unabridged papers, which will run to 40 volumes, this single volume of selections from Franklin's writings will come as a boon for the small library and the historically minded individual. Mr. Donovan, formerly in charge of production for Pathe News, and author of several historical works, has given us a lively sense of the man and his times, liking the extracts from Franklin's writings with running commentary, placing the material in the frame of reference. Franklin's ""success story"" emerges from the very beginnings in Boston when he contributed to his brother's paper; then on to Phiadelphia where he soon became a public figure. There were the ""Busy Body"" essays, then . His views on issues of the times, his moral precepts, his humor, his maxims made him ""the poor man's Confucius"". Outside activities were increllebly varied, from inventions, scientific experiments (he was fascinated by the beginning awareness of electrical forces)- on to his distinguished career as a public servant, America's first citizen, a diplomat- ambassador before the Colonies became a new nation. He was deeply involved in steps leading to independence- both as a prophet and as an advisor. He talked liberty and freedom- at home and abroad. He became the idol of France; even his role as ""lady's man"" is discussed (with a minimizing of the gossip aspects). Even at 80, when he came back to stay at home, his advice was sought and given, on the new Constitution, on finances, on postwar issues. A great man in any period or any country, his immense vitality is evident in everything he wrote and all he did. This one-volume selection of his writings should be in high school and college libraries as an ideal introduction to the man himself.

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 1962
Publisher: Dodd, Mead