As he does in all of his works, Daugherty demonstrates the ability to get inside the subject about whom he is writing. He has a clear grasp of the workings of Franklin’s mind, as illustrated by his words: “There were so many rooms in that luminous mind. Every minute something was going on in each one of them. All the space was used, in this rooming house under his hat.” The way in which Daugherty relates the amazing versatility of Franklin throughout the book reveals his great admiration for this figure. Writing about Franklin’s accomplishments is a tremendous task in itself, but Daugherty has also written of the people with whom Franklin was associated during his remarkable life. In doing so, he has painted a picture of Colonial America in economic, social, and political terms.
Daugherty first recounts the accomplishments of Franklin as a printer and writer. Beginning at the age of twelve as an apprentice, he advanced to the editorship and publishing of his own newspaper. His work enabled him to come in contact with many authors and books. This experience would lead to his writing for the newspaper, his publication of Poor Richard’s Almanack, his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, his membership in the Constitutional Convention, and his final piece of writing, which was a protest against slavery. Franklin was not merely skilled in expressing himself in writing, as his organization of a group called “The Junto” brought a number of individuals together to discuss issues...
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Daugherty possessed the rare ability to choose the right word, and he also created magnificent accompanying illustrations that served to make his books outstanding in the field of young adult biography. Because he had a deep love for the United States that had been instilled in him in his early life, he wrote a number of biographies, including Poor Richard, in which he showed his understanding of the history of the country and his appreciation for the role played by the early settlers in its establishment.
While Franklin’s name is well known to Americans, it is doubtful whether all of them are very familiar with Franklin’s amazing versatility, which is shown in the broad range of services that he performed and in the contributions that he made to the development of the country, to the establishment of its independence, and to the maintenance of peace there afterward. Daugherty has done what many biographers strive to do: to present a subject whose life is worthy of admiration and emulation. Most assuredly, Franklin is such a subject, and Daugherty reveals Franklin’s character and his well-earned place in history.