Benjamin Franklin (Abridged): An American Life Audiobook, by Walter Isaacson Play Audiobook Sample

Benjamin Franklin (Abridged): An American Life Audiobook

Benjamin Franklin (Abridged): An American Life Audiobook, by Walter Isaacson Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Boyd Gaines Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 4.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 3.63 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: July 2003 Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780743561853

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:

6

Longest Chapter Length:

75:33 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

68:18 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

72:12 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:

18

Other Audiobooks Written by Walter Isaacson: > View All...

Publisher Description

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us -- an ambitious urban entrepreneur who rose up the social ladder, from leather-aproned shopkeeper to dining with kings.

In bestselling author Walter Isaacson's vivid and witty full-scale biography, we discover why Franklin turns to us from history's stage with eyes that twinkle from behind his new-fangled spectacles. In Benjamin Franklin, Isaacson shows how Franklin defines both his own time and ours.

The most interesting thing that Franklin invented, and continually reinvented, was himself. America's first great publicist, he was consciously trying to create a new American archetype. In the process, he carefully crafted his own persona, portrayed it in public, and polished it for posterity. His guiding principle was a "dislike of everything that tended to debase the spirit of the common people." Few of his fellow founders felt this comfort with democracy so fully, and none so intuitively.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin's amazing life, from his days as a runaway printer to his triumphs as a statesman, scientist, and Founding Father. He chronicles Franklin's tumultuous relationship with his illegitimate son and grandson, his practical marriage, and his flirtations with the ladies of Paris. He also shows how Franklin helped to create the American character and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.

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"Sometimes I think Benjamin Franklin's personal shortcomings with his family and womanizing are focused on more than the shortcomings of other founding fathers. However, the breadth of his influence both in the 1700's and its lingering effects today is remarkable and perhaps unparalleled."

— Joshua (4 out of 5 stars)

Quotes

  • “Given the nature and accomplishments of the man, any biography of Benjamin Franklin has to be the chronicle of a half-dozen or more lives in one, all lived with amazing energy, and all extremely interesting. And so, happily, it is in this splendid new look at the incomparable Franklin, who remains one of those American about whom we can never know enough. Walter Isaacson writes with great vitality, intelligence, and a clear-eyed understanding of the worlds of politics, the press, and the human equations of high-level diplomacy. This is a book I’ve looked forward to for a long time and that I’ve found wholly enthralling from beginning to end.” 

    — David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • “Isaacson’s splendid Benjamin Franklin is both an absorbing narrative biography and an acute assessment of the man and his impact on his times and on posterity. After all, Franklin, the man who did so much to invent America, is the most modern of the Founding Fathers and vividly embodies the virtues and contradictions of the national character.” 

    — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Pulitzer Prize–winning author
  • “A thoroughly researched, crisply written, convincingly argued chronicle…A prime candidate for the authoritative Franklin of our time.” 

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “An immensely readable telling of a remarkable life…An indispensable and highly entertaining addition to the long afterlife of Benjamin Franklin.” 

    — Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Awards

  • A New York Times bestseller

Benjamin Franklin Listener Reviews

Overall Performance: 4.24242424242424 out of 54.24242424242424 out of 54.24242424242424 out of 54.24242424242424 out of 54.24242424242424 out of 5 (4.24)
5 Stars: 14
4 Stars: 13
3 Stars: 6
2 Stars: 0
1 Stars: 0
Narration: 0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 (0.00)
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1 Stars: 0
Story: 0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 (0.00)
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  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Extraordinary man. The breadth of his accomplishments, from science to politics is hard to overestimate. Incredible life. "

    — Alex, 2/5/2014
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Used my Groupon coupon at B & N today to buy a copy of this book. I'd been reading a borrowed copy while visiting relatives and now can dig back into it. Glad to get back to it... "

    — Susan, 1/22/2014
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Though such a significant figure in the formation of the United States I was struck by his integrity (and lack of it). I thought this biography informative but it dragged a bit for me. A good read to increase one's understanding of colonial times and one of the key figures in the earliest days of the Republic. "

    — Alan, 1/16/2014
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Finally done. Took me forever, but I did learn a lot. Least intended: that Ben Franklin was a jerk. Brilliant on the invention end, though. Also learned a great deal about the shaping of America, so it was all worth it right there. A good read for someone more into non-fiction than I. "

    — Lisa, 1/7/2014
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " A lot of gritty details I didn't know. Overall good book, dragged at times. "

    — Mark, 1/5/2014
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Great overview of Franklin's life, but started to lose me at the end with the chapter on how everyone else viewed Franklin throughout history (including Steven Covey). "

    — Annette, 12/22/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " He was an amazing individual!! "

    — Leslie, 12/21/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Extremely readable and great history. Both of Issacson's successor works on Einstein & Jobs don't come close to this work, IMHO. "

    — Peter, 12/13/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Read this book when I visited Philadelphia. It was fun to read about something and then go to the actual site. "

    — Charlene, 12/5/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " great insights into the life of a truly remarkable man who embodies the true american spirit. he is probably turning over in his grave "viewing" what is going on in washington today. "

    — Debby, 11/21/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " It took me forever to read this book, not because it was uninteresting, but because I was reading other books, as well. I have always admired Benjamin Franklin and this book made him all the more a hero of mine, and somewhat it feels like I know him as a fellow friend. "

    — Madonna, 11/17/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " A very readable popular history that shows what a remarkable man Franklin was. Looks behind the myths and makes him come alive as a true renaissance man. "

    — Warren, 11/9/2013
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Very interesting. I'm glad I read it, although at times I had to force myself to pick it up. "

    — Lisa, 10/12/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " A wonderful portrait of an incredibly productive genius. The only problem with this book is that sometimes it dives too far into detail, republishing entire letters of correspondence. "

    — Arshad, 3/1/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Slow at first but worth the struggle...picks up after the Stamp Act... "

    — Katharine, 2/18/2013
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Book gives interesting insights into a very interesting life. "

    — Richard, 1/11/2013
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " An enjoyable read and well written biography of Franklin; an Enlightened man and a true republican. "

    — Ultan, 10/17/2012
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Love Ben, love Walter. Definitely a good read. "

    — Mira, 12/26/2011
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Still one of my favorite books of all time. Shows the man from birth to present in just the right light. Goes into his talks in France, inventions, but even better, breaks down his very true personality that is not an exaggeration from what we see in impersonators today. "

    — Wes, 12/23/2011
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " Daunting in scope and page count, the book begins explaining the lineage of the Franklin family. So I used the method of refering to the Index to locate the interesting topics for me. This made the book much more digestible. "

    — Mary-Ellen, 6/21/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " A good history book. Easy reading but also easy to put down. I didn't know that ole Ben was such a philanderer! Great scientist & politician, but I lost a little respect for him in the husband department. "

    — Jacque, 6/9/2011
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " My idol. Loved this book. It read like a novel. "

    — Debbie, 5/24/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I thought Mr. Isaacson wrote a remarkable account of the life of Benjamini Franklin. If you are a bit unsure of Franklin's contribution to the founding of our nation, I'm sure this book will enlighten you knowledge of this great patriot.. "

    — David, 4/16/2011
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Statesman, genius, and old rake. That says it all. "

    — Darlene, 4/13/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " No other way to understand American History "

    — Shelby, 3/21/2011
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " One of the Greatest Americans . I love biographical history and this book was really easy to read . Be looking for more by this author. "

    — Jack, 3/10/2011
  • Overall Performance: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

    " I have read other books by Isaacson and thought they were great but it just kind of felt like he phoned this one in. I didn't feel a real passion from him for this topic; it felt like he was going through the motions. "

    — Emmy, 2/9/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " I had no idea of the numerous things we must thank this man for, nor the extensive role he played in the American Revolution. This was easily read and fascinating. "

    — Heidi, 1/18/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Old Ben rose considerably in my estimation, not just as a statesman, but for his scientific contributions as well. "

    — Bob, 1/10/2011
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Surprised by how much I enjoyed and how engaged I became with this book. It had everything. Wonderful job by Walter Isaacson. This is a great vehicle for learning, not only about Benjamin Franklin, but about the times in which he lived. Totally recommend it. "

    — Donna, 1/9/2011
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Read this book in 2004. Very good bio on Franklin. "

    — Louise, 12/29/2010
  • Overall Performance: 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

    " Excellent book, one of the most readable and enjoyable biographies I have ever read. "

    — Greg, 12/23/2010
  • Overall Performance: 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

    " Read this book when I visited Philadelphia. It was fun to read about something and then go to the actual site. "

    — Charlene, 12/21/2010

About Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is the author of highly acclaimed works of nonfiction, including four biographies that have made the #1 spot on the New York Times bestsellers list. A professor of history at Tulane University, he has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. Visit him at Isaacson.Tulane.edu.

About Boyd Gaines

Boyd Gaines is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and an actor whose many film credits include Second Best, I’m Not Rappaport, Heartbreak Ridge, Fame, and Porky’s. He’s won two Tony Awards for performances in the The Heidi Chronicles and the musical She Loves Me. On television he has appeared in A Woman Called Jackie, A Son’s Promise, and in the popular series One Day at a Time.