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Download Benjamin Franklin: An American Life Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (17,554 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Walter Isaacson Narrator: Boyd Gaines Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Alex Agranovsky | 2/5/2014

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

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Susan Fetterer | 1/22/2014

    " 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... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Alan | 1/16/2014

    " 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lisa C | 1/7/2014

    " 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. "

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