The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin's House
The dramatic story of a founding father, his illegitimate son, and the tragedy of their conflict during the American Revolution—from the acclaimed author of The Lincolns.
Ben Franklin is the most lovable of America’s founding fathers. His wit, his charm, his inventiveness—even his grandfatherly appearance—are legendary. But this image obscures the scandals that dogged him throughout his life. In The Loyal Son, award-winning historian Daniel Mark Epstein throws the spotlight on one of the more enigmatic aspects of Franklin’s biography: his complex and confounding relationship with his illegitimate son William.
A fresh take on the combustible politics of the age of independence, The Loyal Son is a gripping account of how the agony of the American Revolution devastated one of America’s most distinguished families. Like Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough, Epstein is a storyteller first and foremost, a historian who weaves together fascinating incidents discovered in long-neglected documents to draw us into the private world of the men and women who made America.
“Daniel Mark Epstein’s The Loyal Son is a riveting narrative about the bizarre turmoil between Benjamin Franklin and his son William. The amount of new research undertaken is deeply impressive. And the writing is elegant and always informative. Highly recommended!”
– Douglas Brinkley, Rice University Professor of History, CNN Presidential Historian, and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
“Daniel Mark Epstein has written a textured, sympathetic account of a fallen founder, William Franklin: patriot, public servant, son and partner of Benjamin. Epstein shows, from the inside, his ambitions, yearnings, decisions good and bad, and final, crushing failure.”
– Richard Brookhiser, author of Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln