Ever the chronicler and teacher, Franklin wrote an autobiography, ostensibly for his illegitimate son William. Apart from hurried additions when he was in his eighties, his story halts at 1757. Tracing his footsteps centuries later, Franklin’s most celebrated biographer completes the last twenty-five years of the autobiography by drawing on Franklin’s most personal and insightful letters and writings—even making additions within the interrupted Autobiography to give us the expository memoir that Franklin intended. Indeed, as he wrote it.
Wright has chosen passages that reveal Franklin’s daily life and public career, his wit and wisdom, and Wright gives continuity to them with brief introductions and comments.
This book…allows one to become much better acquainted with the enduring Mr. Franklin. And that is a delight.
By judiciously selecting from [a] vast potpourri of materials, Wright has created a single, manageable work that functions as the penultimate introduction to Franklin in all his guises… Any person seeking to know Franklin the man, the scientist, the printer, and the patriot could not find a better introduction.
Esmond Wright is Professor of History, Emeritus, University of London.