I read this book about 22-Aug-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 0000. This note was last modified Sunday, 15-Oct-2006 20:02:58 PDT.
This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.
Non-fiction, so by my rules no spoilers are possible. The copy I read was from Project Gutenberg.
This was clearly assembled from letters and notes, and has big gaps in it, and doesn't carry through to actually cover the historically important part of his life. Still, it's fascinating. Some of the letters were written for the edification of a son, and others were weritten for publication.
He was working as a master printer at an appallingly young age, and had made himself a pretty decent writer. He put a lot of emphasis on self-improvement, clearly, including long-term plans that he actually followed through. He also seems to have noticed early that being too much of an asshole to the people around you isn't something they forgive easily, even if you're right. Clearly a clever young man.
His relationship with organized religion seems a bit strained, and yet he takes so much of it for granted. It's a bit confusing from my modern atheist perspective.