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Dash explores Franklin's postretirement scientific and diplomatic activities in detail for YA readers. Having gained recognition abroad for his ideas about electricity, "the most famous citizen of the Western world" was well poised to serve as an ambassador of the colonies--first to England, then to France, where Parisians lined the streets to welcome him. As in Dash's The Longitude Prize (2000), the discussion here is challenging, whether addressing science history or subtle political minuets; it's no surprise that the bibliography contains primarily books published for adults. However, readers who persist will emerge with an expanded view both of Franklin the man (far from a salt-of-the-earth American, he was viewed by many as morally questionable, even unpatriotic) and of the Revolutionary War itself. Dash's appealing, informal author's notes source quotes and occasionally explain how her assertions jibe with other scholars' views; Petricic's droll artwork interprets events with a wit that America's first political cartoonist surely would have appreciated. Jennifer Mattson
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