The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America | Mechanics' Institute

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The Society for Useful Knowledge: How Benjamin Franklin and Friends Brought the Enlightenment to America
Jonathan Lyons

Cover of The Society of Useful Knowledge.  A blue back ground with star-like speaks and a white key.

A spellbinding, rich history of the American Enlightenment—think 1776 meets The Metaphysical Club! Celebrated historian of knowledge Jonathan Lyons tells the story of America's coming-of-age through its historic love affair with practical invention, applied science, and self-reliance. Offering fresh, original portraits of figures like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Rush, and the inimitable, endlessly inventive Franklin, Lyons gives us vital new perspective on the American founding. He illustrates how the movement for useful knowledge is key to understanding the flow of American society and culture from colonial times to our digital present.

Journalist Jonathan Lyons is the author of The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization. He has spent his professional and personal life exploring the shifting boundaries between East and West. After more than 20 years as an editor and foreign correspondent for Reuters, he is now a researcher at the Global Terrorism Research Centre and a PhD candidate in sociology of religion at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He lives in Washington DC. He has a BA with Honors in Russian and History from Wesleyan university and was a Fellow at Columbia University's Harriman Institute of Soviet Studies. He also studied at the Pushkin Institute of Russian language in Moscow.

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