Monday, 18 January 2016

Book Review: Benjamin Franklin in London by George Goodwin

Title: Benjamin Franklin in London 
Author: George Goodwin
Publisher: Yale University Press 
Publication Date: 16 February 2016
Pages: 352
Format: eBook - PDF 
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

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For more than one-fifth of his life, Benjamin Franklin lived in London. He dined with prime ministers, members of parliament, even kings, as well as with Britain’s most esteemed intellectuals—including David Hume, Joseph Priestley, and Erasmus Darwin—and with more notorious individuals, such as Francis Dashwood and James Boswell. Having spent eighteen formative months in England as a young man, Franklin returned in 1757 as a colonial representative during the Seven Years’ War, and left abruptly just prior to the outbreak of America’s War of Independence, barely escaping his impending arrest.    

In this fascinating history, George Goodwin gives a colorful account of Franklin’s British years.  The author offers a rich and revealing portrait of one of the most remarkable figures in U.S. history, effectively disputing the commonly held perception of Franklin as an outsider in British politics. It is an enthralling study of an American patriot who was a fiercely loyal British citizen for most of his life—until forces he had sought and failed to control finally made him a reluctant revolutionary at the age of sixty-nine. (Goodreads Synopsis)


Benjamin Franklin in London was an interesting and instructive read. Although I knew somewhat of Benjamin's time in England, having recently visited the Benjamin Franklin House, it was fascinating to read in greater detail of his involvement, which ran deeper than I'd realised. The book came across as well-researched, and for the most part it was well-presented; although, here and there I found odd sections a little stodgy and only speed-read them. This book would be a great addition to the library of anyone interested in early American/US Revolutionary history and/or the Georgian period, as well as for those researching the Founding Fathers.

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