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Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, and Political Thought (American Political Thought)

Weinberger, Jerry

13 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 070061396X / ISBN 13: 9780700613960
Published by University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2005
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of ...

Publisher: University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Moral paragon, public servant, founding father; scoundrel, opportunist, womanizing phony: There are many Benjamin Franklins. Now, as we celebrate the tercentenary of Franklin's birth, Jerry Weinberger reveals the Franklin behind the many masks and shows that the real Franklin was far more remarkable than anyone has yet discovered.

Taking the Autobiography as the key to Franklin's thought, Weinberger argues that previous assessments have not yet probed to the bottom of Ben's famous irony and elusiveness. While others take the self-portrait as an elder statesman's relaxed and playful retrospection, Weinberger unveils it as the window to Franklin's deepest reflections on God, virtue, justice, equality, natural rights, love, the good life, the modern technological project, and the place and limits of reason in politics and human experience. Along the way, Weinberger explores Franklin's ribald humor, usually ignored or toned down by historians and critics, and shows it to be charming-and philosophic.

Following Franklin's rhetorical twists and turns, Weinberger discovers a serious thinker who was profoundly critical of religion, moral virtue, and political ideals and whose grasp of human folly constrained his hopes for enlightenment and political reform. This close and amusing reading of Franklin portrays a scrupulous dialectical philosopher, humane and wise, but more provocative and disturbing than even the most hardboiled interpreters have taken Franklin to be—a freethinking critic of Enlightenment freethinking, who played his moral and theological cards very close to the vest.

Written for general readers who want to delve more deeply into the mind of a great man and great American, Benjamin Franklin Unmasked shows us a massively powerful intellect lurking behind the leather-apron countenance. This lively, witty, and revelatory book is indispensable for those who want to meet the real Franklin.

From the Back Cover:

"Franklin's many masks are examined and lifted to disclose the one real man--a thinker--behind them. Weinberger gives us the radical truth about Franklin in a book that is a delight to read."--Harvey Mansfield, author of America's Constitutional Soul

"With the focus of a bloodhound and the tenacity of a bulldog Weinberger follows Ben's spoofs and sophisms into whatever cul-de-sac they lead. His Franklin is a coherent philosopher-skeptic who teases us into thinking for ourselves. . . . A bracing, hilarious, and enlightening experience."--Ralph Lerner, author of The Thinking Revolutionary: Principle and Practice in the New Republic

"A lively, clever and well-informed account that's sure to raise controversy."--Ralph Ketcham, author of The Political Thought of Ben Franklin

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