Penguin. 299 pages. $25.95.
"Wood brilliantly recounts Franklin’s conversion from a committed imperialist and royalist into a fiery revolutionary patriot." Kenneth Silverman
"Since Franklin’s early life has become a kind of fireside yarn, told and retold to the point of being threadbare, Wood shifts his focus to Franklin’s middle years—the time when, having secured his fortune, he retired to focus on diplomacy, travel and philanthropy." John Freeman
San Francisco Chronicle
"Professor Wood has written an illuminating, accessible and entertaining contribution to the growing literature about Benjamin Franklin. His incisive portrait leaves the Founder more well-rounded, more complex in his motivations and hence more human." Chuck Leddy
"[Wood gives] the patient reader an exceptionally rich perspective on one of the most accomplished, complex and unpredictable Americans of his own time or any other." Jonathan Yardley
"With all that has been said of Franklin over the years, it is difficult to develop a fresh take. Yet this is what Wood offers us in The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin. … Given his theme, however, one is left wishing that Wood had revealed a little more of the double edge of the sword of Americanization." Alan Tully
Reviewers agree that Wood’s new book makes a valuable addition to the recent spate of Founding Fathers literature. More of a study than a biography, the book follows the twists and turns of Franklin’s life—from commoner to gentleman, from Royalist to Patriot—with great insight. Despite the title, Wood (author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The Radicalism of the American Revolution) presents Franklin as a "worldly foreigner" and then, later, as a symbol of home-grown democracy (Providence Journal). The Boston Globe points out that while Wood shows the qualities of Franklin that Americans embraced, he fails to show what they rejected; a "greater illumination of … the complexities of Americanization would have made a very worthwhile book even more so."
Benjamin Franklin | Edmund S. Morgan (2002): Jan/Feb 2003. A "purposely short" biography that focuses on Franklin, the Political Philosopher, and omits much of his personal life.
Benjamin Franklin | Walter Isaacson (2003): Sept/Oct 2003. A more comprehensive, modern take on Franklin—the upwardly mobile innovator, businessman, and politician, the Founding Father who most resembles us today.