Read A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin and His Son by Willard Sterne Randall Online


Almost everyone is familiar with the accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin, but few know that he had an illegitimate son named William, an intelligent young man who first served his father as a military adviser, legal counsel, and pamphleteer, eventually rising to be Royal Governor of New Jersey, only to become his father's implacable enemy. A Little Revenge is the untold sAlmost everyone is familiar with the accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin, but few know that he had an illegitimate son named William, an intelligent young man who first served his father as a military adviser, legal counsel, and pamphleteer, eventually rising to be Royal Governor of New Jersey, only to become his father's implacable enemy. A Little Revenge is the untold story of the tortured relationship between these two extraordinary men. Benjamin hoped that through William he could found a political dynasty that would rival that of the Adams family. But when the American Revolution broke out and William refused to follow his father and remained loyal to the British Crown, an enmity developed that was frightening in its ferocity. When William was captured by the rebels, his father made sure he was confined to a notorious prison and intervened in Washington's attempt to free William through an exchange of prisoners. Once William did secure his freedom, he became deeply involved in the illegal execution of rebel prisoners. William was exiled to Britain, and he and Benjamin lived out their lives without ever forgiving the other. In fact, after the Revolution, they spoke only once to each other. A Little Revenge reveals a whole other aspect to the American mythology of Benjamin Franklin and is a brand-new portrait of his fascinating son....

Title : A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin and His Son
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 22430978
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 563 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin and His Son Reviews

  • Carol Arnold
    2018-11-10 18:24

    I am so glad I read this book. I don't think I even knew that Benjamin Franklin had a son, let alone an estranged one. I have also never read anything about the Revolutionary War from the British point of view. Michael Franklin was educated in England as a lawyer. He was appointed by the King of England to be the territorial governor of New Jersey. He served in this position until he was removed by the rebel congress during the war. He was a loyal supporter of the King of England and tried his best to get the two factions to come to an agreement. His father, on the other hand, was one of the prime movers in the revolutionary movement. This did not make for family harmony. Michael spent almost two years as a prisoner of war and ended up losing everything, including his wife who died while he was in prison. The only problem that I had with this book was the detail. Mr. Randall had a lot of knowledge. His research was evident, his bibliography was extensive! But it seemed like he wanted to tell us EVERYTHING he knew! I was often bogged down in the details. 563 pages of detail! So, while I learned a lot and appreciate the knowledge, it was just too much!

  • Amy
    2018-11-09 00:22

    "A Little Revenge" is the polar opposite of a hagiography. Randall's carefully researched biography on the relationship between Benjamin Franklin and his illegitimate son William serves to pull yet another founding father from his exalted pedestal and examine him in the cold light of his own actions.William was the product of one of the many Parisian affairs of Benjamin's youth; in order to make the best of things, Benjamin provided for the impoverished young woman and saw that the boy received an education. On meeting him midway through his childhood, he took a liking to the bright young man and accelerated his efforts to transform an embarrassing reality into a respectable young gentleman: William was educated at affordable yet challenging schools and eventually passed the English equvalent of the bar, becoming a respected attorney in England and then America.His early education in England left him with an affinity and loyalty for the country which stood in direct opposition to his father's American patriotism, and the book focuses on the schism that developed in the gathering years of the American revolution. William rose to the position of Colonial Governor of New Jersey under King George while his father was the patriarch of the revolutionary movement. We all know which side won, and Randall's writing is very sympathetic to the hardships faced by Loyalists who were eventually forced to emigrate back to England in order to avoid persecution or murder by their former neighbors or even their own families. William was among this number.While the elder Franklin was indisputably a venerable statesman and diplomat, he conducted his personal life in a way that few will find palatable. He ignored his common-law wife in favor of another family he lived with in Paris, neglected his daughter, was indifferent to his son until he saw personal gain in raising him to respectability, and put political gain before family to the point where his son nearly died in Tory prison while Benjamin reveled in the luxury of Paris. If colonial and revolutionary America interest you, this is an eye-opening read on the complexities of one of its key characters. Certainly no one is perfect, but one might be hard-pressed to find a founding father more flawed than Benjamin Franklin.

  • Susan
    2018-11-07 19:24

    I have read several biographies of Benjamin Franklin, but none of them comes close to describing the failed relationship he had with his illegitimate son in detail. William was a product of his upbringing, and Benjamin Franklin comes off really bad in this book. Benjamin was a brilliant man, but was a HORRIBLE father, spouse and friend. I think I would have disliked him intensely had I lived back then. I do dislike him intensely for his treatment of his family. The man had no conscience. This book gives William more of a voice, but it also gives voice to the conflicting sides of the Revolutionary War, both patriots and loyalists, and the consequences to the lives of both sides. The patriots were not all principled and good. The royalists were not all villainous, bad people. I learned a lot of context for the war in addition to details of the two men. I also appreciated the details. It did not seem like a textbook to me.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-07 01:34

    Reads too much like a textbook.

  • Christopher Saunders
    2018-10-24 20:16

    I was supremely disappointed by A Little Revenge, Willard Sterne Randall's comic strip portrait of Benjamin Franklin and his illegitimate son William, who remained colonial Governor of New Jersey while Benjamin became a leader in the fight for independence. The central story is fascinating, with Randall showing how the Franklins fall out over politics, then Benjamin uses his influence to keep his son imprisoned and forfeit of property - a remarkable amount of pettiness from any man, let alone someone lauded as a national hero. Yet the book stumbles in almost every conceivable way, from the pedestrian prose and descent into oft-tedious detail, to the author's speculative analyses of personal motivations to his obnoxious Anglo-Tory bias (which might be forgivable if he didn't couch the Revolution in cockeyed terms of noble, chivalric Britons fighting barbaric, half-mad colonists who - gasp! - shot Redcoat officers!). What's left is an interesting tale deserving of a much better book and far more discerning historian.

  • J.D.Brayton
    2018-11-04 23:27

    Simply one of the most enlightening books I've ever read about our founding father Ben Franklin and his son William. This one stays on my history bookshelf.The revolution was , in fact, our first vicious Civil war. The divisions between 'patriots' and 'loyalists' were extreme and more widespread than our history books lead us to believe. The author treats Franklin's son, William, with great empathy and understanding-though he was considered a trenchant loyalist. I recommend this book to any serious student of American History.

  • Bob
    2018-11-12 23:31

    A very interesting bookThis was a great read. I found the relationship between Franklin and his son fascinating, Franklin's behavior toward his son and wife reminded me of my father in law, narcissism ran rampant in that mind. His cruelty to the both of them is appalling.

  • Shelli
    2018-11-18 20:12

    Long but interesting . This book is very detailed - there is so much to know about Benjamin Franklin and the settling of America than many of us know.

  • Helaine
    2018-11-19 22:15

    This is an enthralling book for anyone that enjoys the details of history. Although I had read books about Benjamin Franklin and the events of his life and knew that he and his son were estranged during the Revoluntionary War due to opposite positions, I never came across the whys and wherefors of that relationship. Randall does not idolize Ben Franklin in this book. Ben is not a sympathetic character. He comes across as rather narsisstic and self-indulgent. Even his position on the Revolutionary War seems to stem from the personal affronts he suffered in England from the King's agents and members of parliment that he believed thought highly of him. One wonders if this had not happened, would Ben Franklin have thought more as his son did and continue his loyalty to the King? The book is one with a different perspective--one that should be taken into consideration when determining Ben Franklin's place in history.

  • Miriam
    2018-10-25 22:05

    Alhough very interesting and well researched, the author seems to lack a certain storytelling ability that this book needs. While at times the reader can make progress, often the reader is quickly bogged down.This book, while highly critical of Benjamin Franklin and in my opinion probably warranted for his narcissist ways and questionable morals, does an excellent job telling of William's ouster as NJ Governor and his struggle to remain in office on the verge of the 2nd Continental Congress declaring independence. Found the daily life, religious, and political struggles of Loyalists especially interesting.

  • Don
    2018-11-15 23:21

    I had read Ben's autobiography and Edmund Morgan's book on Ben before this one, and had a totally different picture of Franklin in my mind than the one presented here, which seems the more carefully drawn out one. A rather long study, I found myself turning pages in interest initially, but like other readers getting a little anxious to finish the book about half way through. I made the effort to finish it, and I'm glad that I did so. I gained tremendous insights about the times from this book which will prove invaluable in my future historical readings of the period. Randall is a top notch historian in my book!

  • Charles
    2018-11-15 23:32

    A disciplined studyRandall clearly did not hold back any effort to present an irrefutable account of American Revolution through the lives of two most prominent leaders. He details scenes rarely discussed, some raising eyebrows. I only wish he had given as much attention to an easier narrative style. My calling this book a disciplined study refers to the push to complete the reading as much as the effort spent writing it. The avid historians will appreciate the facts brought out, but it is not for the casual reader.

  • Sherrill
    2018-11-09 23:06

    This was a fascinating book about the history of Ben Franklin and his son that was not very honest and was not a fan of the cause of the American people. He supported the Tory thinking while Ben supported the cause of the American people. It was too bad that Ben even started giving his son favors and such because it led to so much strife between them. William became the governor of his state and his famous father was left on his own. It was great.

  • Caety
    2018-11-04 01:25

    Other reviews claim this was written more like a textbook, and I have to agree. However, I found the information refreshing to read in that I believe it was a more accurate picture of the times and the actions of the individuals of the time period. If you don't mind a slow read, I think you'll enjoy this story of part of our American History.

  • Lynn
    2018-11-06 21:34

    Definitely gave me a different perspective on Benjamin Franklin. While he was a great patriot, he wasn't a very nice person. His treatment of his family was abysmal. Great insight into what it was like to be a Loyalist during the Revolution. Those who ended up on the losing side suffered some terrible hardships.

  • Lonni
    2018-11-14 22:09

    All sorts of history I've never known. A bit too detailed to be really spellbinding; well researched. A very good look at Franklin's son who only makes it into the textbooks b/c he was a Tory - and this books shows you just how loyal of a Tory he was!

  • Joan Huehnerhoff
    2018-10-20 18:23

    Loved this book. I didn't know that Benjamin Franklin had a son, and that son was a Loyalist. This book shares the history of the American Revolution in the context of the time. there were two sides in america. it was our first Civil was.

  • Jackie O'sullivan
    2018-11-05 23:21

    SOOOOOOOOOOOO boring!!!! What a dull dull book. So hard to remain in any way interested in what should have been a fascinating subject. Totally DIre.

  • Kate
    2018-11-01 23:31

    Loved the story of Ben Franklin's son William, who was governor of NJ when the American Revolution started. Learned a great deal about Pennsylvanian politics before the American Revolution.

  • Marshall
    2018-11-09 21:33

    Possibly the most engaging biography I've read. Even if you don't normally enjoy American history, this is a fantastic story.

  • Mary
    2018-11-08 19:08

    While it was interesting to look at Ben Franklin in from a different perspective, I felt that it was a bit too negative in describing his actions and motives for them.