Big Fat Book In 60 Seconds Flat

He was a magazine editor, author, and leader of many -- we're talking, of course, about Walter Isaacson. In his new book, Benjamin Franklin (Simon & Schuster, $30), the former Kissinger biographer, TIME editor, and CNN honcho tells all about the Benjamin. Here are some ticker-worthy highlights. -- JR

-- Young Franklin was a vegetarian -- but not only for PETA-certified reasons. He saved his meat money to spend on books.

-- A notorious flirt, Ben never wed his common-law wife of more than 40 years, Deborah (her potter husband hadn't divorced her after leaving her).

-- Franklin had a contentious relationship with William -- his illegitimate son with an unidentified woman -- who remained loyal to the Brits after the Revolution.

-- His passions included chess, inventing, and a daily ''air bath'' -- sitting naked in his home with all the windows open.

-- Franklin managed to be one of America's greatest patriots -- and still enjoyed speaking near-fluent French.

Originally posted Jun 27, 2003 Published in issue #716-717 Jun 27, 2003 Order article reprints

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