A Great Improvisation by Stacy Schiff audiobook

A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America

By Stacy Schiff
Read by Jason Culp

Random House Audio 9780805066333
9.84 Hours Abridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780739320396

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“In December 1776, a small boat delivered an old man to France.” So begins a dazzling narrative account of Benjamin Franklin’s French mission, the most exacting–and momentous–eight years of his life. When Franklin embarked, the colonies were without money, munitions, gunpowder or common cause; like all adolescents, they were to discover that there was a difference between declaring independence and achieving it. To close that gap Franklin was dispatched to Paris, amid great secrecy, across a winter sea thick with enemy cruisers. He was seventy years old, without any diplomatic training, and possessed of the most rudimentary French. He was also among the most famous men in the world. Franklin well understood that he was off on the greatest gamble of his career. But despite minimal direction from Congress he was soon outwitting the British secret service and stirring passion for a republic in an absolute monarchy. In A Great Improvisation Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff offers an utterly fresh and thrilling account of Franklin’s Parisian adventure and of America’s debut on the world stage. Schiff weaves her tale of international intrigue from new and little-known primary sources, working from a host of diplomatic archives, family papers, and intelligence reports. From her pages emerges a particularly human Founding Father, as well as a vivid sense of how fragile, improvisational, and international was our country’ s bid for independence.

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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 2006 Ambassador Book Award for American Studies

A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

“In December 1776, a small boat delivered an old man to France.” So begins a dazzling narrative account of Benjamin Franklin’s French mission, the most exacting–and momentous–eight years of his life. When Franklin embarked, the colonies were without money, munitions, gunpowder or common cause; like all adolescents, they were to discover that there was a difference between declaring independence and achieving it. To close that gap Franklin was dispatched to Paris, amid great secrecy, across a winter sea thick with enemy cruisers. He was seventy years old, without any diplomatic training, and possessed of the most rudimentary French. He was also among the most famous men in the world. Franklin well understood that he was off on the greatest gamble of his career. But despite minimal direction from Congress he was soon outwitting the British secret service and stirring passion for a republic in an absolute monarchy. In A Great Improvisation Pulitzer Prize winner Stacy Schiff offers an utterly fresh and thrilling account of Franklin’s Parisian adventure and of America’s debut on the world stage. Schiff weaves her tale of international intrigue from new and little-known primary sources, working from a host of diplomatic archives, family papers, and intelligence reports. From her pages emerges a particularly human Founding Father, as well as a vivid sense of how fragile, improvisational, and international was our country’ s bid for independence.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Franklin was an ideal choice for the mission, as Stacy Schiff shows in this meticulously researched and judicious account of his eight years as a diplomatic dazzler and charmer in Paris.” New York Times
“Despite the undeniable impact on U.S.-French relations of two tumultuous centuries, A Great Improvisation reminds us that profound cultural differences between the two societies have not changed all that much—and thus remain at the root of their conflicting visions of the world. Plus ça change.” Washington Post
“In sparkling prose, burnished to a high gloss, Stacy Schiff tells the tale of Benjamin Franklin in Paris with piquant humor, outrageous anecdotes worthy of the finest French farce, and a wealth of lapidary observations. Her Paris unfolds as a glittering carnival of spies, rogues, frauds, and flawed reformers, eccentric nobility and perpetually squabbling American diplomats. Towering above all is the protean figure of Franklin, an improbable compound of wit, cunning, hypocrisy, courage, and tireless devotion to his country. C’est magnifique!” Ron Chernow, New York Times author of Alexander Hamilton
“What a brilliant book. A Great Improvisation pays tribute to the extraordinary love affair between monarchist France and the republican Benjamin Franklin. Their child was America, conceived at home and nurtured into maturity by France. It is a story full of intrigue, jealousy, and passion. But ultimately it is a celebration of one American’s love for his country. Stacy Schiff has written a masterpiece, capturing a fleeting moment when the stars aligned between Congress and Versailles.” Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Stacy Schiff

Author Bio: Stacy Schiff

Stacy Schiff is the author of Véra, winner of the Pulitzer Prize; Saint-Exupéry, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; and A Great Improvisation, winner of the George Washington Book Prize and the Ambassador Book Award. The recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has contributed to the New Yorker, New York Times, and the Washington Post, among others. She lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Runtime: 9.84
Audience: Adult
Language: English