From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians—a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, Jane, whose obscurity and poverty were matched only by her brother’s fame and wealth but who, like him, was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.
Making use of an astonishing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one extraordinary woman but an entire world.
Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. A prize-winning professor, she teaches classes in evidence, historical methods, humanistic inquiry, and American history. Much of her scholarship explores absences and asymmetries in the historical record, with a particular emphasis on the histories and technologies of evidence and of privacy. As a wide-ranging and prolific essayist, Lepore writes about American history, law, literature, and politics. She is the author of many award-winning books and is currently writing a history of the United States.
My church book club, Page Turners, continues to stretch my reading habits. This month’s selection, Book of Ages: The Life And Opinions of Jane Franklin, broke my long-standing aversion to non-fiction. Give me a story, I say! Well, Jill Lepore accomplished that and more. Entertaining and illuminating, this book showed us things that we didn’t know. Even the history teacher in the group learned lots of new facts. More than a chronicle of Jane Franklin’s life, it explores the philosophy and culture of an important time in the American experience. I listened to the audio version of the book and was hard pressed to switch it off! The narration was excellent and the subject matter and beautiful writing kept me riveted. For fans of early American history, this one is a must-read. For those who want a story, Book of Ages will not disappoint.
Audience: older teens and adults.
(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)