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Sep
13
Arnold A. Rogow
Booknotes, Sunday, September 13, 1998
Arnold A. Rogow discusses A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

For almost two centuries, historians have had difficulty explaining the extraordinary duel that in July 1804 killed Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, and ended Vice President Aaron Burr's political career. It was well known that Hamilton disliked Burr—perhaps out of a protective fear for his own power and influence, or perhaps, according to another theory, because of jealousy over the attentions of one or more women. When Burr finally threw down his challenge, it followed more than a dozen years of difficult relations and political strife, culminating a few months earlier in Burr's defeat in the race for the governorship of New York, a defeat he attributed to Hamilton's machinations. But why a duel? In A Fatal Friendship, the distinguished political scientist and writer Arnold Rogow demonstrates for the first time that the roots of the fatal encounter lay not in Burr's (admittedly flawed) political or private conduct but, rather, in Hamilton's conflicted history and character. With his detailed archival research, his close (and unprecedented) examination of the friendship between the two heroic figures, and his bold, imaginative writing, Rogow's brilliant new book will change forever our understanding of honor, politics, and friendship in the early American Republic. —from the publisher's website (timspalding)… (more)
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