Must read 🏆

Benjamin Franklin architect, mastermind, provocateur and creator of a new nation.

American history enthusiasts who think they know Benjamin Franklin may have to reconsider after reading, “Somersett: or Why and How Benjamin Franklin Orchestrated the American Revolution”, by Phillip Goodrich. Being a successful printer, publisher, writer, scientist, inventor, diplomat and politician you would think Franklin had enough to keep himself busy. But convinced the British government was corrupt and it was hopeless for the American colonies to seek reconciliation, Ben Franklin surreptitiously began a blueprint for revolution.

A practical and brilliant man, Franklin, with the assistance of a secret inner circle of advisors, created a plan for igniting and implementing the American Revolution. He orchestrated outrage, propaganda, espionage, counter-espionage, financing, military strategy and how to deal with the peace that followed.

First he formed a secretive inner circle of influential men to inform and advise him. Using his inner circle, Franklin made sure he had the ability and the knowledge needed to implement his plans. 

Certain revolution was the only viable option, Franklin needed to fan the sporadic, brush fires of colonial outrage against England into a focused, powerful fireball. How could he inflame natural enemies - the northern abolitionists and the southern slave owners – into a unified partnership opposed to British rule? Franklin cleverly saw that the court case of Sommersett v Steuart would be a perfect trigger to ignite the slave owners against Britain. Then the release of the Hutchinson letters (whether deliberate or not) convinced the northern abolitionists that their ties to Britain had to be severed.

With the help of spies, Franklin collected valuable information, and used his own spies to sow disinformation and keep the British off balance. Franklin’s prescient observation of Thomas Paine’s value as a writer, after only one meeting, meant the revolution now had a propaganda writer who could stir sentiments in the colonies.

Wars cost money and the American colonies had little. But as usual Franklin had a solution. With the help of an international banker, in his inner circle, a clever, camouflaged source of financing was established to bankroll the revolution.

Leaving nothing to chance, Franklin even took it upon himself to offer military instructions to General George Washington. As usual Franklin was right and to his credit, Washington heeded his advice.

This book shows Franklin, the Founding Fathers, the American colonists, the British government – warts and all - as real people. Goodrich is a great storyteller and weaves the many elements of history into a spellbinding book showing how Franklin, architect, mastermind, provocateur drew up a blueprint that created a new nation.

Reviewed by

Former book reviewer for the Lawrence Technological University library. Wayne State University 2009 HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) scholar concentrating on digital storytelling WWII oral historian for the Yankee Air Museum. Public speaker.


About the author

I'm a full-time general surgeon and amateur history buff. I have spent countless hours researching the life of Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution. This is my first foray into the world of narrative non-fiction. view profile

Published on June 24, 2020

Published by

110000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: History

Reviewed by