Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

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Jill Lepore may have traditional history credentials – she is a professor at Harvard University, after all – but she doesn’t write traditional history books. Book of Ages uses the correspondence between Benjamin Franklin and his sister, Jane, to tell not only the story of Jane’s life, but also explore the eighteenth century in the American colonies, particularly for women. Jane’s life was so different from her brother’s; Benjamin Franklin rose from their poor childhood to make his fortune, travel the world, and become one of the best known thinkers and scientists of the eighteenth century, while Jane married young to a man who was unstable and constantly in debt, had 12 children, 11 of which died before she did, and spent her life almost entirely in their home town, caring for a succession of family and friends to make ends meet. Despite her constrained circumstances, Jane was intelligent and interested in the wider world, and this is reflected in the letters Lepore contextualizes ably in Book of Ages. This is a book about book about Jane Franklin, and Ben Franklin, and about history and how we tell the stories of the past, and what those stories might mean.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 464 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2013-Oct-01
ISBN 9780307958341 Buy this Book
Issue February 2014
Category History


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