Books: Great Man

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN—Carl Van Doren−Viking ($3.75).

Americans may think of Washington freezing at Valley Forge, of Patrick Henry demanding liberty or death, but they never catch Benjamin Franklin in such heroic poses. Instead, the old Philadelphian goes beaming and nodding through history, saying chuckling things to pretty girls, advising young men to save their money and get up early in the morning. Whether he is denouncing the King, flying his kites or delivering himself of his flawless platitudes, he is self-confident, unselfconscious, comfortable, good-natured insatiably curious.

But only Franklin himself, of all the people...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!