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This companion provides a comprehensive survey of the life, work and legacy of Benjamin Franklin - the oldest, most distinctive, and multifaceted of the founders.

  • Includes contributions from across a range of academic disciplines
  • Combines traditional and cutting-edge scholarship, from accomplished and emerging experts in the field
  • Pays special attention to the American Revolution, the Enlightenment, journalism, colonial American society, and themes of race, class, and gender
  • Places Franklin in the context of recent work in political theory, American Studies, American literature, material culture studies, popular culture, and international relations
©2011 Blackwell Publishing Limited (P)2013 Audible Ltd

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  • Keith Pyne-Howarth
  • 10/05/2020

A Doorway to Professional Franklin Scholarship.

If you have a strong interest in Benjamin Franklin, and should you begin to suspect you know everything, or at least, everything interesting, there is to know about him, read this book. Beyond movies and documentaries, beyond your formal American History classes, even beyond his finest biographers, A Companion to Benjamin Franklin opens a new world of Franklin scholarship, taking deeper dives into familiar territory, as well as presenting areas likely novel to most readers. Highly worthwhile, enthusiastically recommended, and unmissable for anyone interested in moving their personal education of Franklin, the colonial era, the American Revolution, or the Founding Fathers to the next level. There are one or two rather more dry chapters, and, of course, some restating of material already widely known. Nothing, however, that should distract from an offering that is frequently so engaging, energizing, and even, occasionally, deeply exciting and fascinating, My only actual complaint is with the narrator. This is not necessarily the easiest book to read aloud, I should grant. Yet it seems to me not too much to ask that fairly common terms ought not be so glaringly mispronounced. But that is only a distraction compared to the pervasive issues with emphasis and cadence. A book of some engagingly-written academic scholarship, “Companion” is full of long stretches with moderately complex sentence structures. So it’s a shame the narration so very, very often does not reflect much by way of (perhaps?) preparation or, less charitably, comprehension. It accordingly requires significant attention and effort to capture the thesis on offer, whizzing by as if on an upside-down roller coaster of deleterious timing, bizarre inflection choices, and misdirected emphasis so awkward as to, in effect, camouflage the meaning of whole paragraphs. But this is a subjective complaint, and in any case should not be allowed to turn prospective readers away. This one flaw is little against so much insightful, entertaining and enriching information. Dive in and see for yourself.