An engaging biography of the man who “snatched lightning from the sky and the scepter from tyrants.”
Benjamin Franklin ran away from his apprenticeship in Boston and arrived in Philadelphia a tired, dirty and hungry 17-year-old who impressed 15-year-old Deborah Read, his future wife, as a young man with a “most awkward ridiculous appearance.” With characteristic grace, Freedman sketches his subject’s career: Franklin settled into life in Philadelphia and became a printer, first publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1733. Franklin led the Junto, which fostered such civic improvements as America’s first lending library, lighting Philadelphia’s streets, and founding the firefighting company, the first hospital and Philadelphia’s first college. By age 44, Franklin was prosperous enough to retire from business, but he continued to be busy, inventing bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove. He was active in the creation of a new nation, signing all of the major documents that created the United States. Freedman is a master at shaping stories that bring history to life, with clear and lively prose rooted in solid research. The stylish volume includes many reproductions of portraits, engravings, and newspaper and almanac pages to enliven the fascinating portrait of Franklin and his times.
A superb addition to Freedman’s previous volumes on the Revolutionary period. (timeline, source notes, picture credits, bibliography, index) (Biography. 10 & up)