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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin [Paperback]

Benjamin Franklin
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 7 1996 Dover Thrift Editions
One of the most popular works of American literature, this charming self-portrait has been translated into nearly every language. It covers Franklin's life up to his prewar stay in London as representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly, including his boyhood years, work as a printer, experiments with electricity, political career, much more.

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Product Description


"The best and most beautiful edition [of the Autobiography]." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Benjamin Franklin was one of the most important and influential Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a leading author, political theorist, politician, printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, and diplomat.

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--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A window into the mind of a remarkable American Nov. 8 2001
When I was a boy, my father told me to read the "Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." Of course, I didn't listen to Dad but now, decades later, I have finally read it. This book is not a comprehensive memoir of the historical events that made him famous. Indeed, the book ends when he is in his early 50s, long before his activities in the Continental Congress, as delegate to the constitutional convention, and as Minister to France. What this book does is to give us the flavor of this remarkable man's personality.
The first part of this book was really letters to his son and the latter part continued the narrative. He writes with a subtle humor that at times had me in stitches. He writes about his scientific achievements and inventions such as what has become known as the "Franklin stove," and his experiments with electricity. Evidentally, there were some in the scientific community who did not believe that lightening was electricity and he took delight in proving them wrong (he very briefly mentions his kite experiment).
He writes about virtues and his cultivation of them. He reflects upon religion yet he was not dogmatic. He was civic minded, starting, among other things, a fire department and a public library. In short, he was a reflective, intelligent, industrious, remarkable man and we realize this best by reading his own words. My father was right; I should have read this years ago.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read as a companion to Isaacson Aug. 9 2003
Ten years ago, I purchased the paperback and could not get past the first few chapters. Five years ago, I bought the cassette version and could not get much further. After finishing and enjoying Walter Isaacson's Franklin bio immediately prior to this third attempt, I was finally able to enjoy "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin". Fredd Wayne brings Franklin to life with what seems like a perfect portrayal. He *performs* rather than narrates.
Without the insight from Issacson, or, I suspect, from any decent biography of Franklin, the autobiography is disjointed, as he wrote different sections at different times of his life, and some time periods are eliminated completely. And it seems to have multiple personalities, struggling between the subjects of self-help, biography, history and simple meanderings and ruminations of an old man.
As a companion book - 5 stars; as a standalone - 2-3 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a decent sounding guy Ben was March 24 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Love how he always thought so well of his friends. A lovely peaceful trip back in time. Would definitely recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A man's -man of History Dec 20 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
He had an amazing Grasp of knowledge that mattered for his time of life. His idea of Men's get-to-gethers to talk about certain subjects and possibly some books of his time were a great benefit for society of the time. Which did help in the publishing of his paper and other avenues which presented themselves in the future.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Sept. 29 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I knew nothing of the life of Benjamin Franklin except the usual lightning some invention stories plus the early days of the development of the United States. From the first chapter, this is an interment writing covering his very early years, how his work ethic was developed, his writing, inventions, work in England and at home. I actually haven't finished the book yet, being an opportunity type of reader, but as a non American, I continue to enjoy leaning about one of the leading figure in US history. I suspect I will continue to read further on this amazing individual.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Autobiography- Benjamin Franklyn March 8 2013
By Andrew
Format:Kindle Edition
Great man that Ben.
Nice that he did all these things not so much for himself but with the view that people should be nobler thoughts.
A must read...
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5.0 out of 5 stars great July 26 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fsrom the first to the last sentence this littel book is full of humor ,optimism, fascinating facts and the great soul and mind of Franklin is vivid. since it is written as a letter to Franklin's son it seems to me it would be a great gift from a father to his son or daughter for prom or end of college years. )
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Franklin wrote this autobiography as a letter of instruction in the ways of the world to his youthful and illegitimate son of 40. It only covers the first half or so of his incredible life, so the things that really made him well-known are not covered, but there is plenty here anyway.
Franklin recounts his family's modest life in England and the circumstances that brought them to Boston. He was among the youngest of a very large family, ultimately finding his way to Philadelphia to find work as a printer when an apprenticeship with an older brother turned sour.
We always think of Franklin as being a slightly older statesman among the Founding Fathers, when in fact he was a full generation older than Washington or Jefferson. Unlike popular perception, he was an athletic and vibrant youth, who rescued a drowning Dutch companion and taught swimming to children of London's elite.
Philadelphia in the 1720's and 1730's was a small town, never sure if it would really take off as a settlement. Franklin quickly befriended key politicians who felt Philadelphia had grown sufficiently to have a world-class print shop. He played a key role in the town's development, leading civic groups in establishing libraries, fire companies, meeting halls, and street cleaning services. Of course, he was also the consummate politician, serving in office, and networking his way to his first fortune by publishing government documents and printing the first paper currency. He also had a knack for working with the several important religious sects of that time and place, especially the pacifist Quakers, even though Franklin was a deist.
Franklin was a clever businessman.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book Of Firsts
Said to be the first work of American literature, by America's first citizen: Ben Franklin's autobiography has certainly drawn a lot of praise. Read more
Published on June 29 2004 by GEORGE R. FISHER
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended high school history
Benjamin Franklin is regarded as one of the finest minds of colonial America. Franklin explored many interests, allowing him to play many roles during his lifetime (as P.M. Read more
Published on June 17 2003 by Professional
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look into the character of "One of a Kind"
I believe that this book is considered a classic of its type. Dr. Franklin tells his story up to 1771, and a most unusual story it is. Read more
Published on June 12 2003 by William L. Gilstrap
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Advice and Ideas
Franklin's timeless words echo through the centuries in this wonderful autobiography. In its pages we can catch a glimpse of Franklins extraordinarily beautiful mind, his wit, and... Read more
Published on April 25 2003 by John Downing
5.0 out of 5 stars Franklin's life as the prototype of the American character
The prevailing conception of the American character found its apotheosis in the persona of Benjamin Franklin. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by Lawrance M. Bernabo
4.0 out of 5 stars You won't find the revolutionary Franklin here.
This is a autobiography of his early years. He actually finished the second half of it thirty years later when he claims he has enough time & before he became too old. Read more
Published on Aug. 16 2002 by JOHN GODFREY
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