Wood, Gordon S. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin.

Author:Julian, Janet
Position:Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

WOOD, Gordon S. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. Penguin. 299p. illus. notes. index. c2004. 0-14-303528-2. $16.00. SA

Prize-winning author Gordon Wood (The Radicalism of the American Revolution; The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787) gives us a fresh view of one of America's founding fathers, whose tercentennial will be celebrated in 2006. The author intends to "recover the historic Franklin" and to "place Franklin's incredible life in its eighteenth-century context."

A wealthy self-made man, Franklin retired from active business in 1748 at the age of 42. He then threw himself into scientific experiments, politics and public service. "By the early 1760s Franklin had become a thoroughgoing imperialist and royalist." He was sent to England as an emissary to get Pennsylvania made a royal protectorate. Charles II had granted William Penn a proprietary charter and the Penn family ran the state like a fiefdom. Franklin fell in love with London and hated the thought of returning to America. He stayed five...

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