Monday, June 22, 2015
Subtitled “Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America”, the biography written by Randy Petersen chronicles the lives and influence of two great men. Franklin, of course, is renowned. Whitefield, America’s first great evangelist, is not nearly as well known. Petersen effectively narrates the early years of both subjects and then demonstrates how their lives intertwined, largely due to the fact that Franklin published Whitefield’s sermons. The two men became great friends who influenced and even shaped America as she became a nation. For the most part, the book is well written, but one jarring habit of the author’s will, in my opinion, keep this book from being timeless and classic: Petersen occasionally uses current jargon which is too casual. For example, in talking about Whitefield, Petersen said, “George suddenly had to share his mother’s attention with a new, strange man. That would have been difficult even if Capel Longden turned out to be a good guy.” Chapter titles often use direct or oblique references to modern culture: “Boy, Interrupted”, “Georgia on My Mind”, and “Love, Maybe” were sprinkled among the timeless language used for other chapter titles, such as “The Education of George Whitefield,” “A Better Place”, and “The Awakeners”. This book was interesting, taught me much about Franklin, and introduced me to Whitefield. I would recommend it. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased reviewed through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.