Woods brings together a unique and perceptive collection of documents that not only offer a rare glimpse into the complex mind of Benjamin Franklin the diplomat, but also provide new insights into the French-American alliance against the British.<br>This selection of letters is an important contribution to the body of literature exploring French support to the American Revolution, and perhaps more importantly, provides an additional glimpse into the character and thought processes of Franklin, the diplomat. <br>All other achievements aside, in his eight years in France Benjamin Franklin emerges as an extraordinary individual, distinguished as much as a philosopher as a statesman. Whether he is writing to peers such as John Adams and John Jay, to French officials such as the Marquis de la Fayette and Count de Vergennes, or even to long-time British friends such as David Hartley, Member of Parliament from Hull, and William Petty, the second Earl of Shelburne, Franklin always reveals much, if not quite all, of himself. And whether the subject might be prisoners of war and privateers, or rules of engagement and reconciliation with England, he writes with remarkable clarity, insight and, on occasion, humor: the portrait of a thoughtful man following a challenging course through uncertain times. <br>The source material for this compilation is the 1817 text, The Private Correspondence of Benjamin Franklin. Where necessary, the editor has provided explanatory notes to assist the reader in placing the correspondence in its particular historical, political, or conceptual context. <br>While there are a number of general texts that, to greater or lesser degrees, deal with this period of Franklin s life Brands (2000), Srodes (2002), and Morgan (2002), among others and these in addition to Schiff s 2005 release: A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America which deals specifically with the timeframe none offer any comprehensive inclusion of source material. To address this void in the literature, Woods embraces the subject, as the subtitle suggests, from a strictly documentary perspective. Thus, this text is both an original reference resource and a supplement to the existing literature. It presents, in its entirety, the original written correspondence which previous authors, in many cases, cite as the basis for their interpretation of events or conclusions of fact.