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Young Benjamin Franklin


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About the Author

Nick Bunker is the author of Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World and An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America, the latter of which won the 2015 George Washington Prize. In the same year, An Empire on the Edge was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History. Educated at King's College, Cambridge, and Columbia University, he worked as a reporter for the Liverpool Echo and the Financial Times, where he was one of the writers of the Lex Column. After leaving journalism, he was a stockbroker and investment banker, principally for the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. For many years he served on the board of the Freud Museum, based in the house in Hampstead, London, where Sigmund Freud died in 1939. Nick Bunker now lives with his wife Susan and their otterhound, Champion Teckelgarth Mercury, in Lincolnshire, England.


"To pass yourself off as a self-made man is to head off questions about your origins. Nick Bunker is wise enough not to take Franklin at his word and resourceful enough to have unearthed his family's past. The result is a robust, graceful half-life, a portrait of the young Franklin that casts fresh light on his energy, his boundless curiosity, his passion for the new--and the self-made." --Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra: A Life and The Witches: Salem, 1692 "Make room on the top shelf of all Franklin biographies. Bunker here provides a stunning reappraisal of America's most self-created genius, loaded with Franklinesque wisdom on every page, carried forward on the wings of words that simply sing." --Joseph Ellis, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 and Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation "It is nearly impossible to say anything new about Benjamin Franklin, but Nick Bunker has done it brilliantly with this study of the young Franklin. An extraordinary achievement." --Gordon S. Wood, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and Alva O. Way University Professor, Brown University "No Founding Father worked harder than Benjamin Franklin to establish a reputation as that most American (and enigmatic) of types: the self-made man. But as Nick Bunker brilliantly demonstrates in this fascinating new biography of the scientist as a conflicted young man, Franklin's past--in particular his family's past in England--followed him every step of the way." --Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Valiant Ambition "Shockingly original, thoroughly researched, and strikingly well written, Young Benjamin Franklin has something for everyone. It's the best book on Franklin in more than a decade. Nick Bunker has once again made the familiar strange and wondrous." --David Waldstreicher, Distinguished Professor of History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution "[A] vibrant, perspicacious, and well-researched portrait of a man hungry for knowledge and ambitious for financial success... Bunker adroitly describes Franklin's involvement in the religious and political controversies of the day, including slavery, as well as in the scientific projects for which he became renowned. An engaging, illuminating biography of a captivating figure." --Kirkus (Starred Review)

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