Benjamin Franklin might be the second most well-known Founding Father after George Washington. But why? He wasn't a president. He wasn't a general. He didn't write the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution (although he signed both). In fact, even though he was influential in so many ways he was also quite old by the time the American Revolution occurred. Gordon Wood explains that although Franklin passed in and out of public favor during and after his life, his enormous influence upon the nation and our ideals was far more than just political.
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin generally follows a chronological format but isn't precisely a biography in the traditional sense (such as Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson). It focuses more on the important points of Franklin's life and the many and varied accomplishments for which he is remembered. Of course it details his achievements as a revolutionary, especially his influence in persuading the French to assist the American Revolution, but it also explains his very late conversion to the cause of the Revolution. In fact, Franklin was a very loyal "British" subject until he finally realized how futile his efforts were to persuade Parliament to treat Americans fairly. This caused many patriots to wrongly view his conversion with suspicion, and he wasn't as highly valued in America as he was abroad. Wood doesn't shy away from covering his shortcomings, but he rightly praises him for his many contributions.
And this really is a good book about one of the greatest Americans and his personality and character and the context of his time. As he became an American he also created the image of an American. And he might just be the biggest reason for our expectation that anyone can - through their own efforts and hard work - make of themselves whatever they chose. And if that isn't a true "Founding Father," I don't know what is.