© 2022 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
PRT Header Color
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

"Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet: The Favorite Founder's Divisive Death, Enduring Afterlife, and Blueprint for American Prosperity"

ben-bet-book.jpg
Aired on Wednesday, April 6th.

"An engrossing look at a lesser-known aspect of Benjamin Franklin's legacy.... Enriched by vivid character sketches and lucid explanations of financial and policy matters, this is an entertaining examination of how a wise investment pays off." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Our guest is Michael Meyer, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. He joins us to talk about his engaging new book, "Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet." The work tells the little-known story of Benjamin Franklin's will, which included a novel, sizeable, and time-released parting gift to the working-class people of both Boston and Philadelphia -- a deathbed wager, as it were, that was rooted in this particular Founder Father's ideas about work, finance, philanthropy, and American Dream. As Meter points out, it's interesting to look at "Franklin's last bet" in our current moment of growing wealth disparity and social division. Per Kirkus Reviews, this book offers "a portrait of the great revolutionary leader as a working-class populist.... Meyer's book sheds fascinating light on an icon who has been reduced to a symbol."

Related Content
  • This week PBS will present Benjamin Franklin, an unblinking look at the remarkable founding father whose industriousness furthered the cause of science and whose diplomatic skills helped win American independence. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with documentary writer Ron Blumer and Ellen Hovde.
  • For centuries, the memory of Jane Franklin has languished in brother Benjamin's shadow. While Ben is on currency and splashed across textbooks, Jane's life of curiosity and hardship has been forgotten. In Book of Ages, historian Jill Lepore draws a portrait of one of the American Revolution's "little women."
  • President Trump is being sued by a group of lawyers who say he is violating the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution. We examine why the framers of the Constitution inserted the clause.
  • He once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." That quote often comes up in the context of new technology.
  • Stephen Fried's biography argues that Benjamin Rush — a pioneering physician, writer and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence — belongs on the historical tier of Benjamin Franklin.