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The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin av…
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The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (urspr publ 2004; utgåvan 2004)

av Gordon S. Wood (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
9961915,231 (3.85)16
Ten years in the making, the new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood reveals Benjamin Franklin's life and meaning. Why did Benjamin Franklin retire from business and become gentleman? Why did he admire the British Empire--and join the American Revolution? Why did he being writing his Autobiography when he did? And how did the "first American" become an American in the first place? Renowned historian Gordon S. Wood spent ten years studying a legend. In this untraditional biography, he penetrates beneath 200 years' accumulation of images and representations to find the historical Franklin. He places his subject's amazing life in its 18th century context an shatters forever the comforting stereotypes: homespun patriot, cracker-barrel philosopher, folksy founder, genial self-improver. Groundbreaking and riveting, this book is a must for anyone interested in American history and the roots of American character.… (mer)
Medlem:blacklabmacie
Titel:The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
Författare:Gordon S. Wood (Författare)
Info:Penguin Press (2004), Edition: First Edition, 320 pages
Samlingar:American Revolution
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Taggar:Benjamin Franklin

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The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin av Gordon S. Wood (2004)

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Gordon Wood is really one of my favorite historians. What I think he does particularly well is to put the American revolution in the context of wider worldwide events and intellectual movements. The revolution for Wood is not in isolation but to be understood in wider circles of Enlightenment philosophy, European rivalry, as well as post-revolutionary needs for symbols. I'm not a fan of blatant revisionism for revisionism's sake, but I think Wood's original and creative ways of interpreting history adds to our understanding in a solid way. In his book about Benjamin Franklin he seriously challenges the myths that have grown up around the founding father. He's done a great job of both bebunking or at least qualifying some of the mythical characteristics as well as explaining how and why these myths arose in the first place. Wood really tries to dig into how Franklin felt and his ideologies, which are complex and dynamic; this makes the book somewhat speculative at points, but I think that's the nature of historical scholarship. The biography is structured well, focusing on some key moments rather than Franklin's entire life and written in a clear simple matter. One of Wood's greatest strengths is to express complicated ideas in simple language and make academica more accessible to all. A great short read for anyone interested in American history. ( )
  vhl219 | Jun 1, 2019 |
Over the past two months I have been reading two biographies about Benjamin Franklin. The biography written by Walter Isaacson is massive and aims for completeness. It describes every step in Franklin's life in meticulous detail. Hence, the amount of information is overwhelming and the whole is rather stodgy. Isaacson is the chief editor of CNN. Good scholarship, but obviously no vision.

The other biography focuses on one aspect of Benjamin Franklin, namely how he became the icon of America. The writing style of this book is much freer, much more enjoyable read. Wood provides a much clearer picture of Franklin, transcending the dusty sources, and doing more justice to other people in Franklin's life, particularly Deborah, his wife, and William, his son. Gordon S. Wood is a professor of history, specialized in the period of the formation of the American republic. His book is a pleasure to read, obviously Wood has a vision.

Obviously, it doesn't harm to read two books about Benjamin Franklin. ( )
  edwinbcn | Nov 13, 2018 |
An interesting examination of the changing public image of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was a loyal advocate of the British Crown until he became convinced that England would not treat the colonies justly. His major contribution to the Revolution was his diplomacy in France, which was underestimated in his lifetime. Wood explains how Franklin's Autobiography contributed to America's image as a land of hard working, self-made men. ( )
  ritaer | Jan 28, 2017 |
A masterpiece of historical biography. Not only does Wood provide a compelling account of Franklin's life, recreating the rich political and social context of the eighteenth century Anglo-American culture, he explains how and why the subsequent layers of mythology have surrounded and distorted Franklin. ( )
  JFBallenger | Aug 13, 2015 |
It’s important to understand that this is not a biography of Franklin in the normal sense. It does tell the story of his life and his rise to political influence, but it’s more about how his reputation and image was molded into something different over the years. Wood’s goal was to remove the myths and get to the heart of who Ben Franklin truly was, but answering that question isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Franklin was the youngest son of 17 children. Despite his huge family and low stature, he managed to get a position as a printer’s apprentice and start to learn a trade. He was one of the first truly a self-made men in America. Over the years he wrote columns for his newspaper under dozens of pseudonyms. He was vocal about his beliefs and never shied away from stating an opinion, though he might only do it anonymously.

He was a scientist, political leader, ambassador, inventor, post master, printer, free mason, and a self-made gentleman. He fell hard for London society and then later France, and lived in both places for years. It was interesting to learn that he was a staunch loyalist to the crown until late in life when he felt like he had been passed over for a position in England.

Over the centuries his image has been distorted by historians. He is sometimes painted as prudish, miserly, or as the all-American tradesman. Depending on what the historian decided he needed, Franklin’s legacy was warped to fit a mold. His incredible talent as an ambassador was often overlooked.

It felt like the author admired his influence, but he didn’t like him as a man. Honestly, the more I learned about his personal life the less I respected him. When he lived in England he left his wife and daughter in America, rarely writing them and skipping his daughter’s wedding. He took his illegitimate son with him, but later disowned the son when he was loyal to the country (England) that Ben Franklin had taught him to love.

BOTTOM LINE: Wood paints an honest portrait of Franklin. There are no rosy glasses with which to view his life, but he sticks to the facts and I appreciated the candid portrayal. I am in awe of how much Franklin did for our country, especially since he received little thanks for it. No man is perfect and Franklin’s impact on the founding of our Nation and the alliance that was formed with France was truly priceless.

“‘The players of our game are so many,’ he told a French correspondent. ‘Their ideas so different, their prejudices so strong and so various and their particular interests independent of the general, seeming so opposite that not a move can be made that is not contested. The numerous objections confound the understanding. The wisest must agree to some unreasonable things that reasonable ones of more consequence may be obtained and thus chance has its share in many of the determinations so that the play is more like trick track with a box of dice.’” ( )
  bookworm12 | Jan 20, 2014 |
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Benjamin Franklin has a special place in the hearts and minds of Americans. He is, of course, one of the most preeminent of the founders, those heroic men from the era of wigs and knee breeches. Men as diverse as Henry Cabot Lodge to George Wills have ranked him along with Washington as the greatest of the Founders.
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Ten years in the making, the new book from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood reveals Benjamin Franklin's life and meaning. Why did Benjamin Franklin retire from business and become gentleman? Why did he admire the British Empire--and join the American Revolution? Why did he being writing his Autobiography when he did? And how did the "first American" become an American in the first place? Renowned historian Gordon S. Wood spent ten years studying a legend. In this untraditional biography, he penetrates beneath 200 years' accumulation of images and representations to find the historical Franklin. He places his subject's amazing life in its 18th century context an shatters forever the comforting stereotypes: homespun patriot, cracker-barrel philosopher, folksy founder, genial self-improver. Groundbreaking and riveting, this book is a must for anyone interested in American history and the roots of American character.

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