Bolt of Fire: Benjamin Franklin And His Fabulous Kite

Sutton Publishing

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Benjamin Franklin is an undisputed hero of the United States, and indeed of Western democracy. The son of a candle-maker, he used his talents and abilities to rise in colonial American society and became a signatory of the US Constitution and a Founding Father of the Republic, Politician, philanthropist, scientist, author, newspaperman and inventor, he was also a master hoaxer. Bolt of Fate deals with one of the most far-reaching of these hoaxes, one that until now had not even been suspected of being a hoax.

It is widely known that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm in the summer of 1752. Electricity from the clouds above travelled down the kite's twine and threw a spark from a key that Franklin had attached to the string. He thereby proved that lightning and electricity were one. Yet what no one has successfully proved until now, and what few have suggested, is that Franklin never flew the kite at all.

Tom Tucker recreates with delightful detail the world of eighteenth-century scientific experiment: the electric kissing circles, the leaping bodyguards and monks at the court of Louis XVI, the Venus Electrificata and the international rivalries. Bolt of Fate is a tale of adventure, the triumph of a self-taught tradesman seeking recognition from the silk-coat connoisseurs who ruled international science. And it is the immensely powerful tale of the kite which, as Franklin developed it, would later become crucial to the success of the American Revolution and the establishment of the Republic.

This book will intrigue all those interested in the history of science and the lives of inventors, as well as anyone fascinated by the history of the American Revolution.


Format: Hardcover
Year published: 2004

Pages: 297
Non-fiction; history.
Imprint: Sutton Publishing

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