- Benjamin Franklin by Kathleen Krull
The challenge in Krull’s latest Giants of Science entry is not adding to information about the redoubtable Founder but selecting and paring information down to the scope of the series. The effort is successful, reframing Franklin’s portrait from that of statesman with an interest in science to that of a natural philosopher impelled by patriotic loyalty to often answer the call of public service. Krull is skillful at condensing the non-scientific aspects of Franklin’s biography and bringing his scientific enthusiasms and achievements to the foreground, particularly his experiments in electricity which garnered him international acclaim. Technical explanations are admirably clear (especially discussion of why common portrayals of the famous kite experiment are misleading), and even when Franklin’s legion of inventions are expressed as lists, readers will enjoy many of the lesser known inclusions (the first flexible urinary catheter … who knew?). Kulikov again supplies his distinctive hatched pen and ink drawings and offers an engrossing gallery of imaginative takes on key episodes, saving a literal version of Ben with son William and kite for the concluding scene. Fans of this well-established series will welcome this new title while sharing guesses of who’s up next.