A mixed bag about a fascinating man and his perplexing son, Benjamin and William Franklin.
As Ben grew in stature and fame as a scientist and patriot, his illegitimate son William went his own way, becoming governor of New Jersey just as war broke out.
The Franklins were accused of colluding, splitting the difference and taking different sides so they could help each other when the dust settled. But the battles inside the family revealed how untrue that was.
The loyalist William was hoping it would all go away, and was imprisoned for being on the wrong side.
Meanwhile Ben warily became a patriot, testing the winds and coming to terms with being on the other side. He was brilliant, of course, and much of the patriots’ war and nation planning involved him. But he didn’t go out of his way to help his son, being much more concerned with his grandson, William’s son Temple.
Along the way, Ben posted himself in France and all but abandoned his dying wife. That created more cracks in the Franklin family.
Ben had a tendency to move slowly, leaving for a short visit to England before the war that turned in to a residence of more than 2 years. He kept his own counsel, did what he wanted, and philandered along the way.
This is an interesting look at a complicated, famous family, warts and all. You’ll probably be a little less enamored with Benjamin Franklin afterward.
Excerpts from letters make up the bulk of the book, but we don’t know how truthful any of the Franklins were with each other, so the truth can bit a bit inconsistent and uncertain.
The book, unfortunately, goes on a little too long. Trim it by about 50 pages and it’ll go down better.
I received this book from Library Thing.