The life and times of Benjamin Franklin
The book comprises of a biography of Benjamin Franklin which detailshis life, accomplishments, as well as his failures, written byBrands, H. W. The author of the book draws from the various writingsof Benjamin to bring together the over 700 pages book. The author ofthe book describes Franklin as a father of the nation of the UnitedStates and as one of the people who is accorded respect and gratitudeby people not only in America, but also across the world. The authoris quick to draw the readers’ attention to the accomplishments thatBenjamin made especially in the field of electricity (Brands 108).These were some of the achievements that he had that made him aglobal icon and an inspiration to millions of people across theworld.
The author seeks to make a point regarding Benjamin that he was asimple and humorous man despite his achievements. Pointing toachievements such as the invention of the first library in Americaand the first fire station, Brands states that Benjamin would havebeen an aloof person, as well as vain. However, Brands points toperson who is humble, delightful and humorous (Brands 220). It isalso worth noting the numerous writings that Benjamin wrote whichwere visionary. The role of the biography that Brands wrote was tobring back Franklin from the historical caricature. It is clear fromthe book that Franklin was forgotten historically and little peopleespecially the youngsters know him for his contributions. Brandsdescribed the journey of Franklin from the colonial times to hisfamily life and his contributions to the revolution of the country.
Brands present Franklin as a womanizer and as a man who lived duringa time when the world was rapidly changing. Unlike other commonpeople who contributed little to the revolution, Franklin playedmajor roles in the changing America. This is evidenced through thechanges that Benjamin contributed to the tax system of the UnitedStates. The presentation of Benjamin as a womanizer presented him asa person who compromised (Brands 412). However, the bitter side ofBenjamin is portrayed in the book through how he reacts to hisestranged son William. According to Brands, even if the revolutionthat occurred in America never happened, people would have stillknown about Benjamin. This is due to his literary works, inventionsand discoveries. Brands argue that Benjamin died when electric powerwas a source of a superpower.
Brands describe Franklin as a man who used his keen sense ofdiscovery and ambition to find solutions to everyday problems thatfaced the people. He was a man who believed in morals and virtue asopposed o numerous historians who looked up to religious dogma forsalvation. Franklin is presented in this book as a person who wasopen minded and who allowed varying views from other people. This wasevident during his time as a printer where he accepted printing ofinformation that was contrary to his philosophy (Brands 240). Thepolitical life of Benjamin is also highlighted in the book. Franklinwas involved in politics in Philadelphia where he rallied for theincrement of taxes to fund the lighting of the city. He was opposedto the British rule and this formed the beginning of the quest forfreedom in the United States. When United States banned trade withBritish colonies, Benjamin was quick to oppose such a move which wasdropped a year later. Benjamin was termed a traitor who worked withthe colonies. However, Benjamin used his voice of reason to opposethe ban.
In the book, Brands state that Benjamin sought to find out theorigin and history of his family in Britain. The author of the bookstates that Benjamin and his son William went back to Britain to findout details about his father’s land. Brands present a man who wasnot only interested in finding solutions to problems facing thecurrent generation, but also wanted to know his origin (Brands 261).The book has presented Benjamin as a hero and as a figure who shouldbe respected in the United States. The author of the book usedmaterials that written by Benjamin’s friends and Benjamin’swritings to write the book. The notes used are at the back of thebook. This gives credence to the information contained in the book.Despite the book being long, it is a book that every person who isinterested in the American history should read.
Another achievement that the author of the book presents is thealliance that Benjamin brokered between America and France and whichled to the independence of the United States. Benjamin is ahistorical figure whose role in the birth of the United States cannotbe overlooked. Brands has presented a person who rose from obscurityto become one of the most admired achievers in the history of theUnited States (Brands 316). The life and times of Benjamin Franklinis not only an interesting read, but also a book that everyone inAmerica should read. It is clear from the reading that Benjamin hasbeen overlooked by modern generations since they are ignorant of theachievements that he made.
Brands, H W. The First American: The Life and Times ofBenjamin Franklin. New York: Easton Press, 2010. Print.