Benjamin Franklin had an astonishing life and career. Not only an author, scientist, inventor, and newspaper editor, he also served as an early President (now Governor) of Pennsylvania, the first U.S. Postmaster General, and the first president of The Academy and College of Philadelphia. Add to that minister to Sweden and, most famously, France.

Yet, for all that we know about Franklin, it appears our understanding of his time living in England may be surprisingly incomplete. George Goodwin’s well-written book Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father tackles the long-standing myth that Franklin was a political outsider in this great city. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Franklin’s first London trip ended up being a...


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