From my Goodreads review of Nick Bunker’s wonderful book:
Without question, my Book of the Year, so far. One of the best books on Franklin, this takes many episodes one reads right past in his Autobiography (and standard biographies) and goes deeper.
The definition of “young” is generous: Franklin is forty years old before this author seems to notice that “like every author, I have to stop somewhere.”
It’s a tiresome fad now to deflate our national founders – bring them down to earth, blah, blah. Bunker doesn’t bring Franklin down so much as to show how and why he flew — from first page to last — inspired by the five generations before him.
Bunker shows us that throughout his life, Franklin “retained his love of curiosities, especially when they were eccentric human beings.” These secondary characters in his biography are brought out as vivid eccentrics, almost as fascinating as the central character.
My quibbles are few, my gratitude for his research and story telling unbounded. This is not a perfect introduction to Franklin (this author aligns with my nomination of Carl Van Doren for that, and of course we have to suggest the Autobiography), but once past the basic outlines, this is a prize.