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Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

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Published: 1916
Language: English
Wordcount: 76,341 / 226 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.3
LoC Category: CT
Audiobook: www.archive.org
Downloads: 44,313
Added to site: 2006.12.29
mnybks.net#: 15662
Origin: gutenberg.org

Franklin told the story of his life, as he himself says, for the benefit of his posterity. He wanted to help them by the relation of his own rise from obscurity and poverty to eminence and wealth. He is not unmindful of the importance of his public services and their recognition, yet his accounts of these achievements are given only as a part of the story, and the vanity displayed is incidental and in keeping with the honesty of the recital. There is nothing of the impossible in the method and practice of Franklin as he sets them forth. The youth who reads the fascinating story is astonished to find that Franklin in his early years struggled with the same everyday passions and difficulties that he himself experiences, and he loses the sense of discouragement that comes from a realization of his own shortcomings and inability to attain. Edited by Frank Woodworth Pine.

Show Excerpt

Franklin's longest work, and yet it is only a fragment. The first part, written as a letter to his son, William Franklin, was not intended for publication; and the composition is more informal and the narrative more personal than in the second part, from 1730 on, which was written with a view to publication. The entire manuscript shows little evidence of revision. In fact, the expression is so homely and natural that his grandson, William Temple Franklin, in editing the work changed some of the phrases because he thought them inelegant and vulgar.

Franklin began the story of his life while on a visit to his friend, Bishop Shipley, at Twyford, in Hampshire, southern England, in 1771. He took the manuscript, completed to 1731, with him when he returned to Philadelphia in 1775. It was left there with his other papers when he went to France in the following year, and disappeared during the confusion incident to the Revolution. Twenty-three pages of closely written manuscript fell into the hands of Abel Jam

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 4.7 from 3 reviews: *****
2012.09.04
lfitzhugh
*****

Excellent reading from any aspect. He has written an informal account of his life, meant for his son. It is amazing what Benjamin Franklin accomplished, but I am even more pleased with his integrity. At a young age, he figured out what kind of person he wanted to be, and worked on it and became that way. For instance, he used to be argumentative but as he said, "for the past 50 years no one has heard" (anything but gentle kindness. And he was very effective in his life. Read this book. I am going to buy a paper copy.

2009.02.02
Sergio Coelho
*****

An amazing surprise. I downloaded it into my iPhone quite by chance, and it laid there for a while until I opened it one day, out of nothing better to read. It was unputdownable. Franklin is an irrepressible character in the history of mankind, and his life is told here by none other than himself, with incredible candour and familiarity. It is also a fascinating insight into 18th century life, and into the making of a brand new country.

I went and bought a printed copy simply because I want this book in my library - it will be there long after my iPhone gives up its ghost. Thoroughly recommended.

2008.03.27
Czadd
****.

This was magically available on my ipod for books.app so I read it. I wouldn't have read it otherwise, but I'm glad I did. There is so much I didn't know about Benjamin Franklin. We would all do well to emulate him.


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