Review: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

I first picked this book up along with a good binding of Poor Richard’s Almanack quite some time ago but I didn’t start reading it until after I heard about it from Christopher Hitchens in his collection, Arguably. Besides calling him the cleverest of the founding fathers, he also had seemingly unearthed new light on the downright humor of Benjamin Franklin. I didn’t know a saying like “The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves” was in jest but after I heard that suddenly it made perfect sense. Sadly that and much of the rest of his famous proverbs are not included in this biography which has some humor in it but contrary to what Hitchens said is actually fairly straight forward and worse, a little on the unedifying side. This may be due to its incomplete state. Sure, some of it had some insight into what made the man so successful and for that I’ve awarded the score I did but it also gets into matters of state which I find to be boring. All in all not what Christopher Hitchens touts it to be or even what Franklin probably wanted it to be and therefore a disappointment. Stay for parts 1 and 2 but leave for parts 3 and 4, and wonder what the book would’ve looked like complete. As it is, it’s just not enough. Of anything.

Final Grade: C

Retrospective Grade: A-

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