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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
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Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Excellent biography of Alexander Hamilton. Although 700+ pages, it's interesting all the way through. Chernow presents an even-handed view of Hamilton, warts and all, but he also makes it clear how essential Hamilton was to the American story. Thomas Jefferson comes across very poorly, but it doesn't feel like it's Jefferson-bashing, it feels like truth. My only comment would be that there are too many "Could this be why he did that?" questions without any real basis. Either state what did have an effect, or don't even mention it. ( )
  tloeffler | Mar 27, 2016 |
How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor - grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

This book ought to give you the answer. :) ( )
  librariankate7578 | Mar 3, 2016 |
Excellent book and exposition on one of the most profoundly influential, yet surprisingly little-known, of the founding fathers. Hamilton's story really is so incredible. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is that the book is just too long for my tastes. Made it thru 400+ of 700 pages before running out of gas. Maybe I'll pick it up again in a few months to polish off the latter part of H's life. ( )
  tgraettinger | Feb 16, 2016 |
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

An in-depth biography encompassing 750pp defining, perhaps the most significant individual amongst the US Founding Fathers. This book is a must read for those who wish for a detailed account of the early history of the battle for US Independence and the birth of the US as a self-sustaining nation state. A thorough and most readable account is to be found in this encyclopedia of Hamilton’s entire life from his West Indies birth. Moreover Hamilton was central to the birth and early history of the US Government. The politics of the first establishment and formation and acceptance of the US Constitution and of the difficulties in establishing the first and second terms of George Washington’s administration are covered in glorious detail. Legislative grid-lock is not a new phenomenon, and has existed ever since the US constitutional form of government was first established circa 1787. The politics of the George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson presidential terms were frequently deadlocked in the early tussles of the ensuing two party system. The politics between the Federalists seeking to establish the First Federal Administrations and the Republicans who held so dear what today are called State Rights were the basic elements of a tremendous political daily battle among the contestants at each stroke. Hamilton as the first ever secretary of the treasury and father of the first US bank shouldered the full development of the budding US economy and its subsequent successes. This book hit the streets in 2005. Chernow is clearly an economic historian par excellence. He started in 1985 with “The House of Morgan” and his successes have allowed him to spend a extensive period of detailed research to produce the facts needed for this work of force concerning the detailed character study and the enormous details of the prolific works of the industrious Alexander Hamilton.
The book contains 32 photos of early portraits of the central cast. plus details exploring the early relationship engendered when Hamilton was Washington’s Aide-de-Camp throughout the trials and tribulations during the War for Independence that solidified the close relationship between these two fathers of US Democracy. The untimely death of Hamilton in a duel with the US Vice-President, Aaron Burr on 11 July 1804 is covered in exquisite detail on pages 700 to 740. 80 pages of notes and bibliography conclude this academic tour de force.
In short this book is a must and rewarding read for those aspiring knowledge of the fight for US independence and the ensuing early history of the US Republic ( )
  MichaelHodges | Feb 13, 2016 |
A straight-forward biography of General Washington's right-hand man, Constitutional crusader, and founder of American finance as first secretary of treasury. It does not shy away from Hamilton's failings such as an ill-tempered tongue and poor decisions, but mostly presents him as a honorable person who set the United States on the course to greatness before his own fall from grace (followed by his being felled by a dueling pistol). Chernow relies on the unnuanced history that presents Aaron Burr as pure villain, but Burr did kill the book's protagonist, so I suppose it's only fair. If you're looking for an introduction to one of the United States' overlooked but fascinating founders, this is it. ( )
  Othemts | Dec 12, 2015 |
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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)

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Publisher's description: 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.… (more)

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