by Sukey HowardSeptember, 2003
Founding Father fever swept the country a few years ago. It shows no signs of abating, and new biographies crop up each season to feed the fervor. Benjamin Franklin has been the worthy subject of four recent books, and more are on the way. The latest, and one of the best, Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson, has been recorded by the always eloquent Boyd Gaines and makes for engaging, enlightening, entertaining listening. The Franklin who comes to life here is the quintessential American self-made man and more: he was an energetic entrepreneur, a writer and humorist, a self-publicist who reveled in reinventing himself, a man of the people who believed in unifying for the common good, an inventor, a brilliant scientist, savvy politician and diplomat. Franklin seems to have had a very good time doing all that he did, and you'll have a very good time being with him.