Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Book - 2004
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The inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton !

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, Alexander Hamilton is "a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all."

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow's biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today's America is the result of Hamilton's countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. "To repudiate his legacy," Chernow writes, "is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world." Chernow here recounts Hamilton's turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington's aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

Historians have long told the story of America's birth as the triumph of Jefferson's democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we've encountered before--from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton's famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow's biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America's birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant , will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2004
ISBN: 9781594200090
1594200092
Branch Call Number: ANF 973.4092 CHE
Characteristics: 818 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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Orcacreative
Jan 23, 2017

You will enjoy reading every word in this book if you are a history buff, otherwise, speed reading, contemplating only on the paragraphs or chapters that spur your interest. It is nevertheless a literary gem by the author conveying Hamilton.

VaughanPLChristineO Jan 04, 2017

Yes, this book is super long and there are a lot of words that are difficult to understand. Although I did read it all, you don't have to. I really enjoed the flowery prose that Hamilton is quoted using but you can skip to the juicy bits and there are a few.
For the more serious reader of American history this book laid out in an easy to understand way why democracy looks like it does in today's society. This book covers a lot of ground (related to independence) and taught me about areas of American history I didn't know I should know. Recommended for teens and adults.

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Memawrayne
Sep 17, 2016

I did not know how much I did not know about this person. It is an amazing story about him and the other "founding fathers". I felt that I got to know them--especially how human they all were. I also learned that politics has not changed much in our country"s history. Same bitterness and polarization.

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BiGirl
Aug 24, 2016

I ended up buying it. Tedious read at times and dense but well worth reading. I know I won't see the show until it's been off Broadway for a few years so I'm compensating this way. Great read, very telling of Alexander Hamilton's values which include honor and his drive to be successful.

gnatreads Aug 23, 2016

Well worth the number of pages - fascinating and compelling, providing insight into Hamilton's amazing life and those of all of our founding fathers,

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cknightkc
Aug 15, 2016

I confess I probably would not have read this lengthy biography if I weren’t going to see the hit Broadway musical HAMILTON next month. Author Ron Chernow skillfully presents an in-depth study of the brilliant statesman and Founding Father who was the principal designer of institutions which continue today, including the federal government, the financial system, and the Coast Guard. Through his prolific writings, a complete picture emerges of Alexander Hamilton both in his professional and personal lives. Other famous historical figures from this period, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and James Monroe, come to life through their interactions with Hamilton. What I took away from this tome was that even in it’s infancy, US politics was not immune to it’s share of scandal and divisive discourse (some of which makes our current national and state campaigns pale in comparison). The issues Hamilton and his contemporaries debated sound all too familiar: immigration, taxes, “big” vs “small” government, as well as America’s role in the world. It is hard to fathom how much more Hamilton would have achieved had his own personality not gotten in the way.

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bixbyjim
Aug 14, 2016

An excellent historical textbook on Hamilton. He was a true genius and I didn't realize what an important role that he played in the founding and preserving our nation. One of our true American heroes.
JD

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CrochetCat374
Aug 03, 2016

Ron Chernow did an extensive amount of research and travel to bring Hamilton's story to life and it really shows in this biography. It took me nearly three weeks to get through, but Chernow leaves no stone unturned and is quite thorough in discussing not only the events in Hamilton's life but also the complete historical background and the lives of those who would prove significant to him (such as Aaron Burr). I also finally listened to the soundtrack of the musical, and now I understand what all the fuss is about. A dense read, but worth the effort.

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magalydominguez
Jul 28, 2016

Great insight on the life of one of our founding fathers. The author does a great job in starting the book by telling young Hamiltons childhood, which gave him the foundation of becoming the man he would later become!

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bybryn
May 18, 2016

Wonderful book and a great companion piece to those obsessed with Hamilton the musical. Inspired me to read more into American History.

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magalydominguez
Jul 28, 2016

Taunted as a bastard throughout his life, Hamilton was understandably reluctant to chat about his childhood- "my birth is the subject of the most humiliating criticism," he wrote in one pained confession and he turned his early family history into a taboo topic, alluded to in only a couple of cryptic letters.

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