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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

In 1723 Ben Franklin arrived in Philadelphia as a poor and friendless seventeen-year-old who had run away from his family and an apprenticeship in Boston. Sixty-two years later he stepped ashore in nearly the same spot but was greeted by cannons, bells, and a cheering crowd, now a distinguished statesman, renowned author, and world-famous scientist. Freedman's riveting story of how a rebellious ap…

Overall Book Review:

Russell Freedman is known for his brilliant biographies, which are both informative and accessible. Becoming Ben Franklin is another feather in Freedman’s cap. The story is well-researched, easy to follow, and provides a delightful look at a beloved historical figure. 

Freedman’s ability to elicit an emotional response from his readers cannot be underestimated. While most of the stories about Franklin are familiar, the writing brings the man alive, and this reader was found with a tear in the eye as Franklin passed away in the final pages of the book. 

Freedman can also be relied upon to avoid the common biographer’s temptation for reporting apocryphal stories and legends. He is able to make the story interesting without delving into anecdotes that may not be true. 

With beautiful historical illustrations to complement the written word, Becoming Ben Franklin is a must-read for any young history buff.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation.

Violence/Gore: a character is allegedly beaten; a character writes about an event in which twenty+ people are killed with no details; a painting depicting war is shown, with several people wounded or dead (no gore).

Sex/Nudity:  A character engages in “air baths,” sitting naked in the open air; a character flirts.

Mature Subject Matter:

Family estrangement, a child is born out of wedlock, war, slavery.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My mother would often find me curled up in a corner, avoiding chores with a book–or two. When I was growing up, there wasn’t a large selection of YA books. I had children’s books and adult literature to choose from. I’ve come to love YA fiction as an adult and read almost nothing else when I read for pleasure–any genre will do.