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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
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Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
I started this monster more than six months ago after the Hamilton musical piqued my curiosity. I checked it out of the library over and over again, reading 50 to 100 pages at a time. I would have finished sooner but this thick tome is impossible to read with one hand while walking the dog (my best reading time).

Chernow is persuasive in fingering Hamilton as one of the most important of our Founding Fathers. The volume is rich in detail and very readable. It's easy to see how Chernow's portrait of Hamilton could fascinate Lin-Manuel Miranda and inspire him to create his wonderful musical. ( )
  villemezbrown | Jul 28, 2018 |
Taking on a massive biography like this is no simple task. I wasn't sure I needed or wanted to know all about that was here on Hamilton. But having gotten through it I was glad I did. Chernow delivers on not only a detailed account of this great man's life, but a remarkable assessment of his character and what drove him to greatness. But we also get the foibles and weaknesses of the man which led to his failures, and gives a complete picture on what he was really all about.

Along with personal caricature the book also is a virtual historical textbook and then some on how he fit in such a key way with so many important events and decisions that shaped our great country. Hamilton maybe as much or more than any other man we find was instrumental in not only the founding of our country but to an extent what it is today.

Many of the great figures he interacted with, collaborated with, and squared off against are all profiled in remarkable detail. I was rather taken but the bitterness of the rivalries and differences depicted primarily with the opposition Republicans, our today Democrats. The enmity and passions reminded me so much of today's political scene.

At times the long nature of detailed political points and contentions got a bit boring but it was made up for with the descriptive personalities and failings of personal conduct. The tragic conclusion with his final confrontation with Burr was very dramatic. Also the aftermath of his wife, Eliza's life completed what was a remarkable biography. ( )
  knightlight777 | Jul 11, 2018 |
Shockingly readable for how dense it was. Quite enjoyable and certainly informative. A must-read for anyone interested in the founding of the country. ( )
  benuathanasia | May 18, 2018 |
If you want detail to flesh out the musical, you’ve got it in this book. I am amazed how Lin Manual Miranda was able to take a scholarly tome like this and make a hit musical out of it. Well worth reading, but it will take some time to read. ( )
  brangwinn | Apr 29, 2018 |
This is another one of my favorite works of non-fiction. Ron Chernow is an author I had not read before, but I have since read this book twice. Hamilton is a fascinating character and one that is too often overlooked in American History. His influence on Washington and on the early economics of the country shaped the path of American History for generations. His brilliance cannot be overstated, and the fact that he came from such a difficult background makes it all the more amazing. His personality was also larger than life and is what ultimately got him into trouble and has since tarnished his image. I recommend this book to anyone who likes history, although the parts about his economic policies do drag a bit if you have no interest in the area. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ron Chernowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, GabrieleCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Valerie, best of wives and best of women.
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In the early 1850s, few pedestrians strolling past the house on H Street in Washington, near the White House, realized that the ancient widow seated by the window, knitting and arranging, was the last surviving link to the glory days of the republic.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143034758, Paperback)

Building on biographies by Richard Brookhiser and Willard Sterne Randall, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton provides what may be the most comprehensive modern examination of the often overlooked Founding Father. From the start, Chernow argues that Hamilton’s premature death at age 49 left his record to be reinterpreted and even re-written by his more long-lived enemies, among them: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe. Hamilton’s achievements as first Secretary of the Treasury, co-author of The Federalist Papers, and member of the Constitutional Convention were clouded after his death by strident claims that he was an arrogant, self-serving monarchist. Chernow delves into the almost 22,000 pages of letters, manuscripts, and articles that make up Hamilton’s legacy to reveal a man with a sophisticated intellect, a romantic spirit, and a late-blooming religiosity.

One fault of the book, is that Chernow is so convinced of Hamilton’s excellence that his narrative sometimes becomes hagiographic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Chernow’s account of the infamous duel between Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. He describes Hamilton’s final hours as pious, while Burr, Jefferson, and Adams achieve an almost cartoonish villainy at the news of Hamilton’s passing.

A defender of the union against New England secession and an opponent of slavery, Hamilton has a special appeal to modern sensibilities. Chernow argues that in contrast to Jefferson and Washington’s now outmoded agrarian idealism, Hamilton was "the prophet of the capitalist revolution" and the true forebear of modern America. In his Prologue, he writes: "In all probability, Alexander Hamilton is the foremost figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a much deeper and more lasting impact than many who did." With Alexander Hamilton, this impact can now be more widely appreciated. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Alexander Hamilton was arguably the most important figure in American history who never attained the presidency, but he had a far more lasting impact than many who did." "An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington's aide-de-camp, a battlefield hero, a member of the Constitutional Convention, the leading author of The Federalist Papers, and head of the Federalist party. As the first treasury secretary, he forged America's tax and budget systems, customs service, coast guard, and central bank. Chernow offers the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his shocking illicit romances; his enlightened abolitionism; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804." "Throughout, Chernow blends Hamilton's public and private selves to present a fully rounded portrait of this handsome, witty, controversial genius and his poignant relations with his wife, Eliza, and their eight children. Hamilton's countless exploits never cramped his prolific literary labors. Chernow brings to light nearly fifty previously undiscovered essays as he explores Hamilton's fiery journalism, his youthful poetry, his magisterial state papers, and his revealing missives to colleagues and friends. Moreover, he conjures up portraits of Hamilton's celebrated peers, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Burr with all their shortcomings as well as their oft-sung triumphs."--Jacket.… (more)

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