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Stealing God's Thunder
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"We forget, living in this era of heavily patented research and closely guarded results, how wonderfully exciting the scientific world used to be. In Stealing God's Thunder, the story of Benjamin Franklin's invention of the lightening rod and the resulting consequences, that sense of wonder and excitement and even fear comes beautifully to life. Philip Dray does a remarkable job of illuminating the ever-fascinating Franklin and, more than that, the way that he, and his invention, helped create the new scientific world."
-Deborah Blum, author of "Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection
Stealing God's Thunder is a concise, richly detailed biography of Benjamin Franklin viewed through the lens of his scientific inquiry and its ramifications for American democracy. Today we think of Benjamin Franklin as a founder of American independence who also dabbled in science. But in Franklin's day it was otherwise. Long before he was an eminent statesman, he was famous for his revolutionary scientific work, especially his experiments with lightning and electricity.
Pulitzer Prize finalist Philip Dray uses the evolution of Franklin's scientific curiosity and empirical thinking as a metaphor for America's struggle to establish its fundamental values. Set against the backdrop of the Enlightenment and America's pursuit of political equality for all, Stealing God's Thunder recounts how Franklin unlocked one of the greatest natural mysteries of his day, the seemingly unknowable powers of electricity and lightning. Rich in historic detail and based on numerous primary sources, Stealing God's Thunder is a fascinating original look at one of our most beloved and complexfounding fathers.
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About the Author

PHILIP DRAY is the author of At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award and the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. From the Hardcover edition.

Reviews

"The best study of Franklin as a scientist ever written."-Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers "Absorbing . . . There are other Franklins-the entrepreneur, the diplomat, the statesman, the architect of independence- but in Franklin the scientist, Mr. Dray may have found the happiest one of all."-The New York Times "Delightful . . . Dray offers a survey of Ben Franklin's scientific career, describing both the ridicule and glory that his experiments inspired."-The Wall Street Journal "A masterful glimpse of . . . Franklin's work [and] a captivating cultural history of Franklin's America."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) "[An] illuminating study . . . elegantly written."-Los Angeles Times

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