Friday, September 22, 2006

Benjamin Franklin, Self-revealed - Winner, Biography, 1918

Benjamin Franklin, self-revealed; a biographical and critical study based mainly on his own writings
by: William Cabell Bruce
New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1917

Well, I'm back to reading somewhat in order. I am still reading the second book from 1917, but also read Benjamin Franklin, self revealed from 1918 while on a recent trip. I started this book thinking it was one of the types on the list of Pulitzer prize winning books that I have dreaded reading - the long book written by someone who uses lots of big words and philosophical ideas that fly right over my head. But, it wasn't.
I actually only read volume 2 because it was what I could get the fastest through interlibrary loan. The book is divided into four chapters, each on a different aspect of Benjamin Franklin's life. The first chapter focused on Franklin's personality. I was interested to find that he had a great sense of humor. The second chapter focused on his life as a businessman in the publishing world. The third chapter was about his life as a politician. This was the longest and most laborious chapter. I had forgetten, though, how very hard Franklin worked to try to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict between England and her colonies in America. The final chapter explored Franklin as inventor.
Benjamin Franklin, self revealed had plenty of interesting facts in it and quoted Franklin's writings on nearly every page - which satisfies my desire for primary sources. But, the book is long and often tedious (and I just read volume 2!). You can image how difficult it is to read a 300-page book with only four capters and no subheadings or divisions within the chapters. I would recommend reading it only if you are doing research on one of those specific areas of Franklins life.

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