"Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet" (Encore)
"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)
(Note: This interview first aired in April.) Our guest is Michael Meyer, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. He joins us to talk about his engaging book, "Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet." It 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 the 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."