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Best Biography of Benjamin Franklin

Updated on November 27, 2015

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

There are few things that are not known of Benjamin Franklin. It is one of the most recognized individuals not only in the history of the United States but in world history. Therefore the value of this biography is not so much its originality as the information and the way it is told.

There are three important points in this book:

Image: Benjamin Franklin - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

  1. Refreshes Franklin's image with a current vision for the new generations
  2. A multi-dimensional image of a man who was great in many ways but at the same time had many very human characteristics, both qualities as defects
  3. Clarifies perhaps like no other previous works the change that was raised in Franklin between his sense of loyalty to the British crown and its transformation into a strong advocate of independence
  4. It gives a very clear sense of Franklin's role in the construction of republican democracy, the American Dream and the role of man of the middle class in the building of the United States

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Franklin from a new perspective

There is a stiff and stereotyped image in the collective unconscious of an elder Franklin, with small lenses holding a kite in the storm. But this man as few of his time and any time, explored a number of creative activities that led him to be a politician, writer, scientist, diplomat, businessman, etc.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Franklin, the great man

But also a simple man

Often the history of the people hold the image of their great men throughout time as if they had been perfect. Isaacson's biography breaks that mold and features a Franklin who along with his great merits, was a man of few friends, with little attachment to his family and a diverse number of women in their environment.

Isaacson's Biography about Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

A turning point on Franklin's thinking

Franklin is one of the founding fathers of the United States. It is an indisputable fact. But it is interesting that his position before this moment of history was that of a person loyal to the royal government that England had on the American colonies.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin

and social mobility

But above all other relevant personality trait of Franklin is having cemented the notion that the common man could organize, create laws and govern itself as a State emanated from a different class which had governed, and built the foundations of the current American society where every one of its members can be identified with various features of the mentality and personality of this great icon of the history of the United States of America

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    • floppypoppygift1 profile image


      5 years ago

      He is an interesting historical figure. I enjoyed the portrayal of him in the movie John Adams starring Paul Giamatti. Cheers~cb

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice review. Sounds like a good take on Benjamin Franklin

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I often think to myself, "Wonder what Benjamin Franklin would think of this." when driving on a busy highway or considering the state of governmental affairs these days. Of all our great American historical characters, I wonder about him the most. Thanks for the review!

    • Tennyhawk profile image


      5 years ago

      Franklin is easily one of the most quotable Americans. Thanks for this.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      5 years ago

      I have the Walter Isaacson book about Benjamin Franklin. The language means its useful as a reference book but its hard tor me to read straight through like a biography.


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