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|Biography - Benjamin Franklin Citizen of the World |
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Superb biography of an extraordinary man
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(firstname.lastname@example.org) | 05/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my opinion an additional two hundred years of history has not changed the fact that Benjamin Franklin is the most talented American that has ever lived. His inventions, which include the lightning rod, Franklin stove and bifocals, were some of the most practical of the eighteenth century. He was also the most read author in the American colonies, with his Poor Richard?s Almanac being a source of humor and wisdom that can be read and reread without a loss of interest. Finally, his role as a public servant is extraordinary and where he made his greatest mark on the world. He was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the professional police and fire departments in Philadelphia as well as the founding of a lending library. Considered essential today, they were unusual in his time.
When a full scale war broke out between the American colonies and Britain, the prospects for a colonial victory were not good. Although there was the advantage of distance, Britain possessed much greater military power and the colonists were not completely united. While George Washington commanded enormous respect as a general, his army was chronically under-equipped. Under these circumstances, the aged Franklin was dispatched to France in an attempt to woo aid from the French imperial court. His abilities to sway the aristocratic and cautious French leaders most likely made the difference in the success of the war. The difficulty of this task should not be underestimated. To the French aristocracy, the Americans were uncouth barbarians trying to establish a style of government they viewed with suspicion. Once French aid was given, the psychology of the situation dramatically changed. Franklin was clearly the only person who could have accomplished that delicate task. This is the most complex point of his life and the description in this tape explains it very well.
While Thomas Jefferson is credited with authorship of the Declaration of Independence, Franklin had substantial input, with some of the most memorable lines being his ideas. This is another key point, often ignored, that is explained in this story.
Given his long and productive life, it is very difficult to adequately describe him in fifty minutes of tape. In this case, the best possible job is done. You learn his extraordinary story of rising from poor circumstances to being a leading citizen of a new country. Franklin?s life was one from which legends can be made, although in this case the life itself is better than a legend could be. He also was apparently quite a lady killer as many women of the French court threw themselves at him. When one asked him to spend the night with her, he parried the offer with a beautiful response, ?Let us wait until winter when the nights are longer so that we may spend as much time as possible together.? Now there is a line to use with the ladies!
Benjamin Franklin may be the most talented person who lived in the eighteenth century and Americans should be proud to have him as part of their heritage. I cannot imagine anyone viewing this biography and not being amazed at what he accomplished."