It’s agreed, BOOK OF AGES is a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister Jane and a history of history itself. Book of Ages will not disappoint any Franklin-o-phile or Founding Era enthusiast. (See press praise below) It was written by one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, Jill Lepore who is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker.
Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve.
Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing 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 woman but an entire world-a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.
Praise for Book of Ages:
“Go read Jill Lepore’s Book of Ages. A biography of Jane Franklin, Benjamin’s sister, it is simultaneously a fascinating look at early America, a meditation on one remarkable mind by another, and, implicitly, a biography of all the other Janes-history’s anonymous and overlooked women.” –Kathryn Schulz, New York Magazine
“This book is an important, inspiring portrait of a determined and faith-filled woman who just happened to be the sister of a big shot. It will be enjoyed by all.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“By restoring Jane so vividly to the historical record, Lepore provides a fresh, personal perspective on Benjamin. And so extraordinarily demanding was her research, even the appendixes in Lepore’s vibrantly enlightening biography are dramatic….Lepore’s stature grows with each book, and this first telling of a remarkable American story, supported by a national tour and generous print run, is destined for an even greater readership.” –Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
“New Yorker writer Lepore masterfully formulates the story of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister, who will be virtually unknown to many readers, using only a few of her letters and a small archive of births and deaths….Jane Franklin was an amazing woman who raised her children and grandchildren while still having the time to read and think for herself. We can only see into her mind because her correspondent was famous and because a vastly talented biographer reassembled her for us.” –Kirkus (starred review)
“From scraps and whispers, Jill Lepore has resurrected Ben Franklin’s youngest sister, the only relative who could truthfully say, ‘every line from him was a pleasure.’ The subject is tailor-made for Lepore, as artful a writer as she is exact a scholar. She delivers two marvels at once: an authentic eighteenth- century female voice, cheerful, inquisitive, and saucy, as well as an intimate portrait of Jane Franklin’s revered brother himself.” –STACY Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra