Petersen, Randy. The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015. 320 pp. $26.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.
Every American knows Benjamin Franklin. Most every Christian knows George Whitefield. Many know they were friends. Very few know the story of their friendship. Randy Petersen, a former editor and writer for Christian History magazine, offers insight into this friendship upon which America was founded.
Divided into twenty-four chapters and three appendices, Petersen starts at the beginning of how a man in American and a man in England formed a bond that would span thousands of nautical miles and the years of the infancy of the United States.
He follows three major segments of their lives: before they met, when Whitefield was in America, and then possible times they met and their correspondence together.
Throughout the course of the book, you will get a peak at what life was like in colonial America from the vantage point of secularism and faith.
A little slow moving but very informational. It was an enjoyable read that brought two streams, often not studied in tandem, together in a way that helps to explain perhaps the original intent of the separation of church and state. It is also beneficial to see how a man of faith and a man of politics interacted with one another unlike many are able to do today.
The book is heavily researched as evidenced by the fifteen pages of end notes and, I thought, well told. It is part biography of Whitefield, part biography of Franklin, and all biography of the Colonial United States.
For those interested in history of America, Franklin, or Whitefield, you will enjoy this book. For those who simply want to peer back in time at two men who genuinely helped forge the American identity, this book is for you. I recommend it to all people regardless of faith.