The Political Trial Of Benjamin Franklin: A Prelude to the American Revolution by Kenneth Lawing Penegar is a thoroughly researched historical narrative offering insight into the life of Benjamin Franklin prior to the American Revolution as well as the poltical thought and controversy leading up to the revolution. Kenneth Lawing Penegar acts as a forensic historian looking deeply into all the causal factors for a momentous hsitory making event that far too often is taken for granted. Based on extensive research and actual historical records and original documents, the author tells the story of Ben Franklin and the major players: the British as well as colonial perspectives- in the years leading up to the American Revolution in far greater depth that can be found in a traditional history book.
Beginning with the account of a comical duel between two political figures: William Whately and John Temple, the author captures the real life intrigue and controvesy that surrounded the American Revolution- which is often left out of traditional historical accounts. To a degree propaganda played a crucial role in forming the opinions and motives and contributing to the crucial events of this important time period. Penegar thoroughly analyses a series of influential letters known as a portion of the "Hutchinson Letters" written and published in the two year period 1967-69. The content of these letters spurred much controversy with their claims, stirring up feelings of revolution and providing in part, the fuel for decisions made which shaped our nation and have world wide impact over 200 years later. He also investigates the personalities behind the letters, the controversies and propoganda. The back and forth dialog between the colonies and Great Britian and the various diplomats is covered in great detail, based on the original sources. I can also imagine that these events can be dramatized into a movie based on the detail provided.
Penegar focuses on a monumental point in our nation's history with fine point precision. Due to the broad scope of history texts, there is little time, space and opportunity to explore deeply into any single point of history. Nevertheless the author brings to life a period of history and its major players, which at most only receive a few pages or lines of coverage. The appendix includes actual historical records including letters by Ben Franklin and other notable figures and the text of the Hutchinson letters. Also included is a thorough index as well as a few illustrations. This book makes a very good resource. This book isn't meant for casual reading by the layman. I imagine that a typical reader may not appreciate the research reflected by this work. It is more appropriate for a history student or history professor who wishes to go behind the scenes to investigate the period of upheaval befor ethe American Revolution. Having a major in history, even I found that this work probed more deeply behind the scenes in its investigation, than traditional college level scholarship. The author uses his investigative talents from his career as a law professor into exposing the facts and the truth behind the American Revolution. In true attorney-like fashion he is not content to simply accept facts, but rather Penegar seeks to answer the questions behind the scenes- and to find the root causes. I received this book, compliments of the author, published by Algora, for the purpose of writing this review.