Reviews & Media

 

Book covers for welcome 1200px

Benjamin Franklin in London quotes and reviews – thus far 

‘George Goodwin captures as well as any recent biographer just why Franklin’s contemporaries found him so captivating….His narrative moves gracefully from heated confrontations with cabinet ministers to intimate aspects of Franklin’s home life.’ — Professor T. H Breen, Times Literary Supplement 

‘Elegantly written, it serves as an enjoyable introduction to Franklin’s time in the imperial metropolis. Replete with anecdote’ — John Brewer, New York Review of Books

‘George Goodwin’s Benjamin Franklin in London is an engaging and readable account of Franklin’s life until his return to the colonies on the eve of the American Revolution….Goodwin reveals a sensitivity to a range of perspectives on his topic that few biographies  designed for general readers possess….Goodwin offers important insights throughout his pages’ — Professor Carla Mulford (author of Benjamin Franklin and the Ends of Empire), Early American Literature 

‘A sensitive, moving and finely textured account of Franklin’s years in London’ –  Guardian.   Full review  here 

‘Benjamin Franklin  in London is out now everybody.  You have got to get a copy it is  fantastic.’ –  Dan Snow, History Hit (for full podcast on Events & Coverage page click  here)  

‘An Enthralling Biography’ – BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week

“In this fascinating history, George Goodwin gives a colorful account of Franklin’s British years” – Smithsonian Magazine

“[An] interesting, lively account of Franklin’s British life . . . a fascinating perspective.”— The Wall Street Journal

‘There are three Benjamin Franklins, the American, the British and the French.  The first and the last are famous, the second forgotten…..The British Franklin, the subject of this fascinating and detailed biography by George Goodwin, may well be the real Franklin….The legend of the ‘first American’ has obscured the story of the last of a particular kind of Briton.  George Goodwin’s vividly detailed account presents Franklin as a scientific, sociable Londoner.  It was Britain’s loss he could not remain one.’- Dominic Green, Literary Review

“The respected British historian and biographer George Goodwin provides us with a thoroughly researched and accessibly written chronicle of that important time of Franklin’s transformation from place-seeking provincial lobbyist to risk-taking revolutionary sparkplug.”—James Srodes, The Washington Times

“Readers are treated to a colorful and readable account of Franklin’s life” – Reading the Revolution, the Museum of the American Revolution

‘Wonderful . . . to be reminded of a time when America produced great men who revered science, were sceptical towards religion, eagerly studied philosophy and argued with both wit and wisdom.’—The Times (London)

‘A comprehensive account of Franklin’s life. It explores major events, daily life and personal foibles….An immersive biography….It is a meticulous and engrossing book’ —Reviews in History, Institute of  Historical Research, University of London

Readers looking for a highly-readable synthesis of up-to-date scholarship on Franklin and eighteenth-century London will find the book very rewarding …. As one of the editors of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, it is deeply gratifying to see how carefully Goodwin went through our volumes and that he used them to craft such an accessible and accurate account.” — Philipp Ziesche, Britain and the World

Goodwin presents Franklin’s life in England with such verve that getting lost in it is a pleasure.” –Kathleen McCallister (Tulane University), Library Journal

Goodwin threads Franklin’s way among diverse British-American influences with a light, sure touch and fascinating detail … The British author provides finely textured, subtle shading to a well-known American Founding Father.” — Kirkus Review 

George Goodwin demonstrates that Franklin, the iconic American, was probably more at home in London than in any other place and certainly defined himself, for most of his life, as a Briton ….  Goodwin’s portrait adds much to our view of this remarkable character.” — Brooke Allen (professor of Literature at Bennington College),  Hudson Review

George Goodwin’s well-written book Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father tackles the longstanding myth that Franklin was a political outsider in this great city. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.” — Michael Taube, New Criterion

Goodwin writes smoothly and is enthusiastic in recreating Franklin’s everyday London environment.” — Julie Flavell, Journal of British Studies

A deeply researched, well-balanced and thoughtfully written book of an American Great living in a rapidly changing, fascinating period of London and world history.” — London Historian

“An engaging and informative account of Franklin’s experiences in the pivotal period before America’s War of Independence.”— Professor Glenn C. Altschuler, Tulsa World

Focuses on Franklin’s London years, which saw the brilliant polymath’s career abruptly ended by the American War of Independence…honest biography’ Spectator

‘This book is a work of diligent research and context….The furious politicking Franklin engages in, first against the proprietary Penn family, and later with the government, is treated with a mastery of detail’ – Catholic Herald   

“A must read for Franklin scholars and students” — Bill Robling, Founding Franklin Newsletter

George Goodwin is author in residence at Benjamin Franklin House, Westminster — the only one of Franklin’s homes still standing. His new book Benjamin Franklin In Londonfocuses on this fascinating period, not only in the statesman’s life but also one where the future trajectory of Anglo-American relations starts to take root.’ – Londonist

‘It is gently witty, it is cooly erudite it is in a word ‘delightful’. I will make no bones about it this book has confirmed and will confirm to anyone else’s suspicion more than ever about what made Benjamin Franklin a great man.’ – Adventures in Historyland

‘Remarkable History’ – Radio Times 

~~

Pre-publication quotes:

‘Goodwin threads Franklin’s way among diverse British-American influences with a light, sure touch and fascinating detail. Overall, Franklin is shown as an astute player of men who subscribed to his own Poor Richard saying: “Let all Men know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly.”  The British author provides finely textured, subtle shading to a well-known American Founding Father.’ – Kirkus

“Impressive.  A real page turner” –Jeremy Black, author of George III: America’s Last King

“We could have no better guide to Ben Franklin and his London than George Goodwin. He shows us both man and city with insight, erudition, verve and wit.” –Jerry White, author of London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing

“Benjamin Franklin was the leading intermediary in the imperial crisis on the eve of the American Revolution and the best known American in Europe.  In Benjamin Franklin in London, George Goodwin offers a lively and informative account of his attempted negotiations and their moment’s failure against a vivid backdrop of politics and life in eighteenth century London.”  –Andrew O’Shaughnessy, author of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire

“Central to understanding Benjamin Franklin is his long, rich and complex life in London.  George Goodwin provides essential insight in a carefully researched and engaging contribution to the literature.” –Márcia Balisciano, Director, Benjamin Franklin House

 

 

————————————————————————–

Fatal Rivalry quotes and reviews

‘George Goodwin’s Fatal Rivalry – Flodden 1513 is about far more than just one battle, significant though it was. In telling the story that led to Flodden, he recreates the Renaissance splendour of the royal courts of England and Scotland. It is not just a clash of kings, but of queens too – Catherine of Aragon and Margaret Tudor play key roles. Goodwin’s narrative results in a hugely enjoyable, enlightening book.’
Tracy Borman, ‘Book of the Year’, BBC History Magazine

‘A terrific account of the tragedy of misunderstandings that culminated in the battle of Flodden… Goodwin does a very good job. He’s alive to the human story… the narrative gathers pace and focus as the battle looms ’
Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph

‘Enjoyable and admirably illustrated…Convincing portrayal of the rivalry between two monarchs.’
Jenny Wormald, Times Literary Supplement

‘A clear account of a great, if doomed attempt by the Scots to free themselves from English domination. Good timing’.
Dan Jones, Sunday Times

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 provides a welcome antidote to the usual run of work on the period. George Goodwin places the events of 9 September in the context of the two kingdoms and their interrelated royal dynasties over the quarter-century leading up to the battle.’
Michael Brown, London Review of Books

‘Among the books and events marking the 500-year anniversary of this turning point in Anglo/Scottish relations, George Goodwin’s Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513, his follow-up to Fatal Colours: Towton, is an essential primer. In a brief 230 pages Goodwin explores the events, characters and political ecology that led up to the battle, charting the difference between the Scottish and English cultures exemplified by their respective kings…. James’ mysterious accession following the murder of his father and Henry VIII’s father Henry VII’s mastery of propaganda are curtain raisers after which Goodwin conveys with clarity the rivalry between two young, powerful males wanting to prove virility as men and monarchs.’
Neil Norman, Express (Daily and Sunday Express)

‘Goodwin’s gripping narrative of the clash and its context makes plain that the modern and well-armed Scots, under the charismatic King James IV, might have turned the tide of our history.’
Independent

‘Readable and authoritative…..Goodwin’s is a traditional narrative, with a strong emphasis on personality….  Well researched and comprehensive.’
Harry Reid, The Herald

‘George Goodwin follows up his acclaimed book on Towton with this spirited and thought-provoking account of Flodden and the events that led up to it.’
Battlefield, The Magazine of the Battlefields Trust

‘Rich in detail and written to make the subject readily understood by modern readers’
Military Heritage Magazine

‘Goodwin’s detailed account of the events leading up to the clash at Flodden on Sept. 9, 1513, places James at the center of the story, and it provides a fresh and provocative take on the intertwined histories of Tudor England and Stuart Scotland’
Publishers Weekly

‘Goodwin provides a concise, fast-moving account of the causes, the actual battle, and the aftermath of the conflict… For general readers with at least a rudimentary knowledge of British and European history, this will be both an informative and enjoyable read.’
Booklist

‘Goodwin demonstrates that he understands that history is much more interesting in small bites….The author’s descriptions of the battle are excellent….A swift enjoyable treatment of one of the most significant battles of the period.’
Kirkus

‘Entertaining, informative account’.
Ed West, Catholic Herald

‘Goodwin presents not just the history of a battle, but, crucially, the history into which the battle fits, making his work a valuable addition to the body of literature discussing 16th century Reniassance kingship and conflict.’   Reviews in History, Institute of  Historical Research, University of London 

Fatal Colours quotes and reviews

“George Goodwin’s account of the battle combines elegiac commemoration with telling historical insight. The Wars of the Roses have attracted many historians; some deal in the technicalities of military strategy; some analyse structures of power; some chronicle the lives of the chief protagonists. Much rarer is the ability to combine all three – but Goodwin has pulled it off in this page-turning read.”
Helen Castor, Sunday Telegraph

“Combines a deep understanding of the politics, characters and military strategies of the period.”
The Week

“Eloquent and easily digestible account, told with an eye for the salient detail, and I hope this is the first in a series of histories of this fascinating but poorly served period… you close Goodwin’s wanting to read more.”
Toby Clements, Daily Telegraph

“Fascinating on medieval battle.”
Simon Sebag Montefiore, The Times

“A medieval masterpiece.”
Northern Echo

“Using contemporary sources and modern research, Goodwin brings to life a remarkable cast of strong characters… His eminently readable book gives the battle its rightful place in English history.”
Good Book Guide

“Highly Enjoyable.”
Ed West, Telegraph online

“Not only marks the 550th anniversary of the battle, but sheds light on a tumultuous period of English history, a stepping stone between a medieval and a modern Britain.”
Yorkshire Post

“A fine book… The story has never been told so well or so excitingly.”
Desmond Seward, BBC History Magazine

‘Fine account’
Paul Lay, History Today

“Well recommended.”
The Historian

“An exciting book of readable yet deeply scholarly history.”
Annual Gazette, Pembroke College, Cambridge

“Hauntingly powerful… A sobering, revealing account of a dreadful day and a dreadful war.”
York Press

“An admirably lucid account….. A very useful work of semi-popular scholarship”
Northern History

“Fatal Colours is more than a book about one battle, vivid, humane and superbly researched though it is. It is an account of a moment of profound crisis in English politics.”
David Starkey, from his Introduction to Fatal Colours

‘This wonderful book is a fascinating insight into the nature of late medieval warfare, and the farcical/tragic nature of Henry VI’s reign’.
Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe

“Brilliantly researched and superbly written, Fatal Colours vividly brings to life one of the most dramatic periods of our history.”
Tracy Borman, author of Elizabeth’s Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen

“For a nation that is over fond of a bellicose past, it is astonishing that so little is known about this most bloody day in English history. George Goodwin’s emotive account of this half-time mark in the Wars of the Roses is an essential addition to our gory story.”
A.A. Gill, Hon. Patron of the Towton Battlefield Society

“Written with clarity of style, accessible and engaging. A significant addition to the literature on the period.”
Anthony Goodman, Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh and author of The Wars of the Roses: Military Activity and English Society, 1452-97

“A cracking job. A very enjoyable read.”
David Cooke, Chairman, Yorkshire Branch of the Battlefields Trust

“Utterly captivating, perfectly balanced between fascinating detail and nail biting narrative. I was particularly struck by the attention given to ordinary soldiers and the way in which George had winnowed out the often poignant stories of their lives from the documentary evidence- it’s a subject which is often overlooked and gave a fresh perspective on the battle.”
Lisa Hilton, author of Queens Consort

“Full of fascinating detail. I enjoyed it immensely.”
Allan Harley, Secretary of the Wars of the Roses Federation

“I casually opened Fatal Colours before lunch on a Sunday; suddenly it was tea-time! Full of intriguing fact and entertaining anecdote, this new narrative on Henry VI and the 1st War of the Roses adroitly establishes just how the ruptured society of 15th century England could lead to the cataclysm of Towton.”
Julian Humphrys, author of English Heritage’s Clash of Arms – Twelve English Battles and Development Officer, The Battlefields Trust

“A really well-researched read.”
South Wales Argus

“{George Goodwin’s} approach is one of setting the scene to explain the peculiar circumstances that led to this catastrophic encounter on Palm Sunday in 1461 and he does it with great style and aplomb…it I exciting to have such a well-researched book released in time for our 550th anniversary.”
Towton Herald of the Towton Battlefield Society

“This tour de force political and military history vivifies a pivotal turning point in the War of the Roses.”
US Booklist

“Goodwin’s descriptions of the battles leading up to Towton, as well as his attention to detail, are impressive.”
US Kirkus