Franklin on Franklin

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Paul M. Zall
University Press of Kentucky, Oct 17, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 328 pages

Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography ends in 1758, some thirty years before he died. Those three decades included some of the statesman's greatest triumphs, yet instead of including them in his memoir, Franklin spent the years continually revising his original text. Paul Zall has created a new autobiographical account of Franklin's entire life. By returning to a newly recovered early draft of the Autobiography, he strips away later layers of moralizing to reveal the story as Franklin first wrote it: how a poor boy from Boston used words and hard work to become America's first world-class citizen. To cover Franklin's career as a diplomat and as the only signatory of all three key documents of the American Revolution, Zall interweaves autobiographical comments from Franklin's personal letters and private journals. Franklin emerges as different from the common perception of him as a crafty "Man of Reason." His raw words reveal the bitter infighting among both British and American politicians and his personal struggle with his son's choice of the opposite side in the fight for the future of two countries. Without the veneer of second thoughts, his lifelong struggle to control his temper carries greater poignancy, as do his later years spent nursing his wounded pride. Susceptible to both fallibility and frustration, the honest Franklin depicted in his own words nevertheless remains an uncommon common man, perhaps even more so than previously thought.

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Franklin on Franklin

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Like the author's previous book, Lincoln on Lincoln (Univ. Pr. of Kentucky, 2001), this recent volume contains various writings that delineate the former president's life and ideas. The first 23 ... Read full review

Contents

17661770
232
17701774
240
17741775
250
17751785
259
17851790
270
Notes
289
Selected Bibliography
299
Index
303
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About the author (2014)

Paul M. Zall (1922-2010), Emeritus Professor of English at California State University at Los Angeles, was a research scholar at the Huntington Library. He is the author of many books including Lincoln on Lincoln, Jefferson on Jefferson, and Franklin on Franklin.

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