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Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of…

Duel! Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words

by Dennis Brindell Fradin

Other authors: Larry Day (Illustrator)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
"Duel!" is a book is really enjoyed and learned from. It is the story of both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr's life. Both of whom I knew nothing about before reading this book. The book takes place at first at the duel they were having against each other. They both had guns pointed at each other and both risking their lives and their freedom for the duel that was happening. The book then tells the life of Hamilton and Burr starting at their lives as children and then taking place where Burr was Vice President and Hamilton was first secretary of the treasury. The duel then commence, because of all the bad words Hamilton had to say about Burr in news papers. After Burr hears of Hamilton's words he asks him to a duel and Hamilton agrees. Hamilton ends up dying from the duel, but is never forgotten. Burr is excused of Hamilton's death, but is never taken to trail. The book " Duel!" is a great way of introducing to children the history of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. ( )
  twalsh | Apr 14, 2016 |
This book, while extremely short, does give helpful background information about both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr as well as a cursory overview of the beginnings of their rivalry. However, these details did not adequately paint a picture as to the men who would take part in the duel. Indeed, the author barely establishes his central argument that both parties were responsible for the duel, and on the last page at that.
This is an interesting book, but would be best suited for private readings by late Elementary students, or the teacher of an early Elementary class reading for students. ( )
  CharlesHollis | May 3, 2015 |
The story of Burr and Hamilton's deadly feud is a lesson from which we can all learn. Fradin has done a fine rendition of the feud, suggesting through his narrative that Burr and Hamilton shared certain character traits in common that eventually led them to become adversaries: they were both orphaned at a young age, fought in the Revolutionary War, were aides to George Washington, became lawyers, and campaigned for political office. They also knew of one another and resided in the same community. One can imagine that they were largely influenced by each other in their career choices as well.

Although we cannot tell exactly where the animosity originally started, Fradin suggests that it began when Burr won a Senate seat in 1791, defeating Burr's father-in-law. This is reportedly the beginning of Hamilton's strategy of slander against Burr. Hamilton's maligning was partially responsible for Burr's defeat in two election campaigns. I applaud the author for offering his readers the possible non-violent alternatives to feuding (either adversary could have chosen a non-violent solution). Hopefully, children who read this book will learn to use these rational approaches in their own struggles against verbal opponents. In a war of words, there is always a way to compromise before violence breaks loose. Fradin evaluates these options carefully, showing his reader what Burr and Hamilton could have done to deescalate the tension between them. They could have gone about the matter like formal politicians instead of reverting to the illegal and barbaric custom of dueling. Unfortunately this was not the case.

Granted this is an excellent book with beautiful illustrations, I have a few criticisms of the narrative. This narrative does plenty of things well. However, it doesn't show a "war of words". While it shows two political figures engaged in a rivalry rooted in their past, it only reports that Hamilton's verbal attacks spurred Burr's buff. Did Burr ever verbally attack Hamilton? A "war of words" would imply that if Burr had been a little more politic and verbally crafty, playing by Hamilton's own game, this might not have escalated into a duel. Another option for Hamilton would have been to simply apologize for the alleged offense. Although Hamilton was responsible for the verbal, and Burr for the physical threat, they are both implicated as responsible in the end. Fradin includes an appendix where he suggests that both men were repaid for their misdeeds: Burr lived out the rest of his life in ignominy and was forgotten by history, while Hamilton paid with his life and is commemorated today in myriad public works.

Another interesting facet of this book is that the narrative is mostly past tense. However, Fradin chooses to narrate the duel in present tense, giving a greater sense of immediacy to the situation. Granted that there are not many words in this narrative, and that the typeface is very large, it is important for the grammar to be correct. There is at least one point in the narrative where past tense is used mistakenly where past perfect should have been used ("each brought" should be "each had brought").

This book is as a cautionary tale with a moral. I feel the author's sympathy is slightly in favor of Hamilton, though. There is an Appendix section entitled, "The End of Dueling", where the author informs his readers about the history of dueling until it became illegal. For young readers, this would be great book for bullies or victims of bullying. ( )
  mpresti | Apr 3, 2015 |
Should a child ever complain that history is boring, do not hesitate to present them with Dennis Brindell Fradin’s Duel! Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words. The tale alone is exciting, somewhat humorous and very, very true, and is certainly well-matched with Larry Day’s illustrations, drawn with all the movement and urgency of a graphic novel but without the panels.
As many may already know, Alexander Hamilton was one of the politicians that signed the U.S. Constitution, while Aaron Burr was Vice President to Thomas Jefferson. Both gentlemen had difficult childhoods, came of age in New Jersey and served as aides to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. It was here that their quarrels began, when Washington embraced the confrontational Hamilton but thought Burr was a troublemaker and dismissed him. From then on their hatred of each other only increased, both seeking to undermine the other over years of political climbing. After Hamilton sabotaged Burr’s campaign to become New York’s governor, Burr proclaimed that Hamilton must apologize to him or fight in a duel. Readers can assume Hamilton’s choice based on the book’s title, but will enjoy experiencing the events unfold regardless.
Duel! is perfect for any classroom social studies curriculum covering America’s first years as a fledgling nation. Students will get a kick out of re-imagining the once-stoic and wise figures of the portraits in their textbooks as perpetrators of a scandalous and childish rivalry that lasted for years. ( )
  ARQuay | Nov 10, 2013 |
For all those of my fellow citizens, young or old, who think that the political life of our republic is a little too divisive these days, I invite you to consider the July 11, 1804 duel between Alexander Hamilton - soldier in the Continental Army during the Revolution, signatory to the Constitution, and former Secretary of the Treasury - and then Vice President Aaron Burr, which was prompted by a bitter (and public) political rivalry, and ended with the death of one participant. Clearly, political divisiveness is nothing new in this country!

Dennis B. Fradin - whose other historical works for younger readers include such titles as The Signers: The Fifty-Six Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence and Let It Begin Here!: Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution - turns his attention to this dramatic story in Duel!: Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words, with very engaging results. His text is informative, laying out the basic life stories of the two men, and how (generally speaking) they came to be facing off against each other with pistols. The accompanying ink, watercolor and gouache illustrations of Larry Day - who also worked on Fradin's Let It Begin Here!: Lexington and Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution - are engaging enough to keep the interest of the reader (despite not being a personal favorite with yours truly).

All in all, this book offers a fascinating glimpse into our past for young readers (I'd say upper elementary school), highlighting one of the most dramatic incidents in the history of the early republic. I know I would have loved it, as a girl! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 22, 2013 |
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Day, LarryIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802795838, Hardcover)

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor. 

These Founding Fathers, once friends and colleagues, had become the bitterest of enemies. After years of escalating tension, Burr had finally challenged Hamilton to a duel. In the end, only one man survived, but their infamous rivalry lives on.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:43 -0400)

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor.… (more)

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