FROM PULITZER FINALIST NICK BUNKER – A NEW ACCOUNT OF THE EARLY LIFE OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
PUBLICATION DATE: September 18th 2018
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First as a printer and a journalist, and then as scientist, diplomat, and founder of a new republic, Benjamin Franklin has always seemed to embody American pluck and self-confidence. But in his youth he had to survive in a harsh colonial world where he fought many battles, not only with his rivals, but also with his wayward emotions.
Taking Franklin from his birth in 1706 to the age of forty-one, when he made his first electrical discoveries, Bunker goes behind the legend to reveal the sources of his passion for knowledge. Always trying to balance virtue against ambition, Franklin emerges as a brilliant but flawed individual, made from the conflicts of an age of slavery as well as reason.
Drawing on new material from archives on both sides of the Atlantic, Bunker gives us the young Franklin in Boston, London, and Philadelphia. Fascinated by human nature, Franklin loved to meet eccentrics, adventurers, and people with charisma. Here we see them brought to life with sympathy and compassion: a supporting cast of poets, preachers, politicians, and ill-fated men and women who fell by the wayside as Franklin grew towards maturity.
PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF, NEW YORK
Background image: a scene from William Hogarth’s narrative cycle of engravings Industry and Idleness (1747)