The First American by H.W. Brands
The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



National Bestseller 

He was the foremost American of his day, yet today he is little more than a mythic caricature in the public imagination. Benjamin Franklin, perhaps the pivotal figure in colonial and revolutionary America, comes vividly to life in this masterly biography.

Wit, diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America’s first Renaissance man. From penniless runaway to highly successful printer, from ardently loyal subject of Britain to architect of an alliance with France that ensured America’s independence, Franklin went from obscurity to become one of the world’s most admired figures, whose circle included the likes of Voltaire, Hume, Burke, and Kant. Drawing on previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands has written a thoroughly engaging biography of the eighteenth-century genius. A much needed reminder of Franklin’s greatness and humanity, The First American is a work of meticulous scholarship that provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, a vital era in American life, and the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About H.W. Brands

See more books from this Author
H. W. BRANDS is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was the finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and again for Traitor to His Class. His website is

Author Residence: Austin, TX
Published May 14, 2010 by Anchor. 786 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The First American

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Along with his unusual attainments, Franklin also “had almost no personal enemies and comparatively few political enemies for a man of public affairs,” and throughout his biography Brands carefully charts just how Franklin managed, through a mix of charm and practicality, to make peace in difficu...

| Read Full Review of The First American: The Life ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Franklin's story is the story of a manDan exceedingly gifted man and a most engaging one. It is also the story of the birth of AmericaDan America this man discovered in himself, then helped create i

Sep 04 2000 | Read Full Review of The First American: The Life ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

From Franklin's progress as a self-declared ""Briton""Dserving as London agent for Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other coloniesDto his evolution as an American (wartime minister to France, senior peace negotiator with Britain and, finally, senior participant at the Constitutional Convention), B...

| Read Full Review of The First American: The Life ...


Through Franklin's letters, his autobiography, and the reminiscences of those who knew him, Brands gives new life to the mythic hero we thought we already knew–and because his acquaintances included ministers, philosophers, scientists, radicals, no-nonsense businessmen, as well as women of the st...

Aug 11 2001 | Read Full Review of The First American: The Life ...

Reader Rating for The First American

An aggregated and normalized score based on 206 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review