honor of our nation’s birthday, I recommend the following books:
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin – One of our nation’s Founding Fathers, Franklin was a world-renowned author and printer, satirist, philosopher, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and diplomat.
This unfinished record of Benjamin Franklin’s life written by himself from 1771 to 1790 was published after his death and this work has become one of the most famous and influential examples of autobiography ever written.
So much so that I read it in high school and two different classes in college!
Part One of the autobiography is addressed to Franklin’s son William, at that time (1771) the Royal Governor of New Jersey.
If you are an American who has not read this book, you’ve got no excuse! It’s available in its entirety online!
Click here to read this classic piece of Americana.
Letters of a Nation: A Collection of Extraordinary American Letters edited by Andrew Carroll – This is an extraordinary collection of more than 200 letters from the arrival of the Pilgrims (September 1630 when John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts, wrote to his wife in England) to August 1996 ( Michelle Song, a young adopted woman wrote a moving letter to her yet-undiscovered birth mother).
Written by men and women from all walks of life — including George Washington, John Adams; Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Jones, Frederick Douglass, Malcolm X, Ernest Hemingway, Amelia Earhart, General William T. Sherman, Mark Twain, and Richard Nixon — these unforgettable voices provide fascinating and heartrending accounts of our nation’s history and insights into American culture over the 350 years covered in this collection.
The letters are grouped into the following ten categories:
- Arrival, Expansion, & Exploration
- A New Nation
- Slavery & the Civil War
- Social Concern, Struggle, & Contempt
- Humor & Personal Contempt
- Love & Friendship
- Death & Dying
- Faith & Hope
Yay for Independence Day!