Brands, H.W. The Frist American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. New York: Broadway Doubleday, 2000. Henry William Brands was born 7 August 1953 in Portland Oregon. Brands lived in Oregon until he went to college in California; there he attended Stanford University and studied History as well as Mathematics. After traveling the nation being a salesman, he taught History and Mathematics at both the high school and college levels for nine years. In the meantime, Brands earned his Graduate degrees in History and Mathematics, and then concluded with a Doctorate in History at the University of Texas in Austin. Afterwards he worked as an oral historian at the University of Texas Law School for only one year. Then he became a visiting professor of History at Vanderbilt University. In 1987, he joined Texas A&M University’s History faculty, where he taught for seventeen years. Brands has written twenty books and has also coauthored or edited five different volumes. Some of his articles have appeared in; The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe, Atlantic Monthly, The Smithsonian, The National Interest, The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, The Political Science Quarterly, American History, and many other newspapers, magazines and journals. Brands’ biography of Franklin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Prize, as well as a New York Times bestseller. In addition to all of his writing awards and skills he is a member of a great deal of highly respected societies including the Society of American Historians and the Philosophical Society of Texas. He is also a regular guest on many different national television and radio programs. His writings have also been published in six different languages. Brands who is one of the most respected men in America, is a well suited person to write about Benjamin Franklin’s life.
Brands has more views towards a Democrat side of issues. Brands himself wrote an article called “President Obama could learn from FDR and Reagan.” FDR was a Democratic himself, and Ronald Reagan was a Democrat at one point in his life. Brands has had lunch with President Obama himself. He describe Obama as a good listener, and instead of dominating the conversation at the meal, the president paid attention to what other people had to say. Franklin was noted to have an independent view on politics, not really being on either side. The biography is extremely complimentary to Benjamin Franklin. Throughout the biography it describes how Franklin was an amazing character, and how to really live like an American.
Franklin’s life started with not much to his name, to becoming an image of what a human should be like. The author states Franklin had incredible self-confidence. During Franklin’s winter of 1724, now twenty-five, he started creating a new group of friends, acquaintances, and even some admirers who would boost his confidence up to new levels. Franklin’s poise had grown since his arrival in Philadelphia. Having measured himself against the printers of a second city, he appreciated his skills more than ever. With Franklin’s time there, he discovered that he could make his way in the world. His native intelligence and common sense aided him extremely well. Franklin’s confidence would prove to be a key component throughout his life.
Franklin was one of the most influential people in American history. Franklin was born into poverty, and by the time he died he became one of the most important and influential people not just in America but in the world. Franklin flourished during hard times; he also loved to be challenged. Throughout his life Franklin was tested with many different challenges, such as; poverty, restarting his life, and creating American documents. Franklin’s way of driving through challenges when they came forth is a main reason...
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