“Larson’s elegantly written dual biography reveals that the partnership of Franklin and Washington was indispensable to the success of the Revolution.” (Gordon S. Wood)
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian comes a masterful, first-of-its-kind dual biography of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, illuminating their partnership’s enduring importance.
One ofUSA TodaysMust-Read Books” of Winter 2020 One ofPublishers Weekly’s “Top Ten”Spring 2020 Memoirs/Biographies
Theirs was a three-decade-long bond that, more than any other pairing, would forge the United States. Vastly differentmen, Benjamin Franklin – an abolitionist freethinker from the urban north – and George Washington – a slaveholding general from the agrarian south – were the indispensable authors of American independence and the two key partners in the attempt to craft a more perfect union at the Constitutional Convention, held in Franklins Philadelphia and presided over by Washington. And yet their teamwork has been little remarked upon in the centuries since.
Illuminating Franklin and Washingtons relationship with striking new detail and energy, Pulitzer Prize-winning historianEdward J. Larson shows that theirs was truly an intimate working friendship that amplified the talents of each for collectiveadvancement of the American project.
During the French and Indian War, Franklin supplied the wagons for General Edward Braddocks ill-fated assault on Fort Duquesne, and Washington buried the generals body under the dirt road traveled by those retreating wagons. After long supporting British rule, both became key early proponents of independence. Rekindled during the Second Continental Congress in 1775, their friendship gained historical significance during the American Revolution, when Franklin led Americas diplomaticmission in Europe (securing money and an alliance with France) and Washington commanded the Continental Army. Victory required both of these efforts to succeed, and success, in turn, required their mutual coordination and cooperation. In the 1780s, the two sought to strengthen the union, leading to the framing and ratification of the Constitution, the founding document that bears their stamp.
Franklin and Washington – the two most revered figuresin the early republic – staked their lives and fortunes on the American experiment in liberty and were committed to its preservation. Today the United States is the worlds great superpower, and yet we also wrestle with the government Franklin and Washington created more than two centuries ago – the power of the executive branch, the principle of checks and balances, the electoral college – as well as the wounds of their compromiseover slavery. Now, as the founding institutions appear under new stress, it is time to understand their origins through the fresh lens of LarsonsFranklin & Washington,a major additionto the literature of the founding era.
Narrator: Andrew Tell
Duration: 11 hrs
Released: 20 Nov 2002