Justin McHenry @ Citizen Scientist reviewed The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin And the Pursuit of Genius – looks like a great book to check out, he writes –
I’ve always been a Benjamin Franklin fan, but I guess I’ve always admired the caricature of Franklin: from the rags-to-riches Poor Richard writing witty sayings in his almanacs to the benevolent old founding father who charmed the ladies in France. Sure, I knew he flew a kite in a thunderstorm having something to do with electricity, and I’ve heard of the Franklin stove, but I always saw Franklin as just sort of a scientific dabbler, an eccentric Renaissance Man who did experiments as a hobby.
A new book that focuses almost exclusively on Franklin’s scientific achievements, The First Scientific American by Joyce E. Chaplin, shows me how little I knew. The truth is, although Franklin was an industrious man who came from nothing to be a successful printer and businessman in America, we wouldn’t know him as a hero of the American Revolution if not for his many groundbreaking scientific achievements, which made him legendary throughout Europe. In fact, Franklin’s contribution to the Revolution wasn’t on the battlefield, it was in France, where he spent the entire war using his fame as a means to continually lobby the French for more help, more help, more help.
The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin (book review) Link.
The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (Hardcover) @ Amazon- Link.