The first major biography of Benjamin Franklin in more than sixty years, The First American is history on a grand scale -- a work of meticulous scholarship and a thoroughly engaging portrait of the foremost American of his day. Diplomat, scientist, philosopher, businessman, inventor, wit, and bon vivant, Benjamin Franklin was in every respect America's first Renaissance man. The eighteenth-century genius comes to life in this masterwork by acclaimed historian H.W. Brands, whose access to previously unpublished letters and a host of other sources makes this the definitive biography. A much-needed reminder of Franklin's greatness and humanity, The First American provides a magnificent tour of a legendary historical figure, the countless arenas in which the protean Franklin left his legacy, and a pivotal era in American life.