“The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America,” by Randy Peterson

I recently had the chance to read The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America, by Randy Peterson. This nonfiction book was published June 9, 2015, by Thomas Nelson.

About this book (from the back cover):

They were the most famous men in America.  They came from separate countries, followed different philosophies, and led dissimilar lives. But they were fast friends. No two people did more to shape America in the mid-1700s.

Benjamin Franklin was the American prototype: hard-working, inventive, practical, funny, with humble manners and lofty dreams. George Whitefield was the most popular preacher in an era of great piety, whose outdoor preaching across the colonies was heard by thousands, all of whom were told, “You must be born again.” People became excited about God. They began reading the Bible and supporting charities. When Whitefield died in 1770, on a preaching tour in New Hampshire, he had built a spiritual foundation for a new nation—just as his surviving friend, Ben Franklin, had built its social foundation. Together these two men helped establish a new nation founded on liberty. This is the story of their amazing friendship.

Final Verdict:

My husband and I read this book together, as we’re both big history and theology fans. In fact, one of our children was named after George Whitefield, and we enjoy reading books that tell about Whitefield’s life. This particular book is an interesting read about two very famous men who were friendly acquaintances who influenced each others’ lives; although their friendship does not look like it might in modern times – they were, after all, busy men who were traveling the globe, not two buddies meeting up for weekly basketball games – it is interesting to see their relationship of mutual respect. Also, I like how, in addition to the main topic, Peterson provides a kind of “history of everything.” For example, when talking about a play one of the men saw, he goes on a kind of tangent about the history of the theater. To some, this might seem like he’s veering off-topic, but in addition to being interesting in its own right, it provides a context for the theater and what it would have meant to Franklin and Whitefield in their day. This is not a quick read, but the chapters are short, which makes it easy to read bit-by-bit.

If you’d like to check out The Printer and the Preacher, it is currently on sale for $12.99 for the Kindle version (regularly $26.99). If you prefer a physical copy the hardcover version is currently on sale for $17.33. Remember, Amazon’s prices can change at any time.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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