I'm not a big history fan; it has never been my best subject. I don't flaunt it, but it is easy to tell that I don't know much of the information I should have learned in my years of history and social studies classes. Anything I do know, I just learned recently.
So, I would not have picked up this book if I walked past it on the shelf at B&N. I might not have noticed it at all really. My husband, on the other hand, loves historical biographies -- though he never does finish any of his books. I saw this one lying open upside down in the bathroom one day and started reading it myself.
We have quite a few books around the house, many of them only partially-read, and I do pick up others all the time. I don't usually stick with any of them though unless it was mine to begin with. This book, a biography about Benjamin Franklin, has been an exception.
It's the writing that makes the difference. Brands has made me care about a subject that I thought nothing about before I read a couple of pages of The First American.
And I still don't care really. I haven't turned into a historian, checking out every book and anthology covering the life of Franklin and the colonial period. But I love this book -- because it is so well-written.
The same could be said of almost anything.