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Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,9911511,147 (4.33)212
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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Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Well written and researched, giving an in-depth account of the formation of the US constitution and financial system. Chernow tended to display his bias against the Republicans at times but at a tolerable level. Highly recommended. ( )
  MatthewFrend | Nov 24, 2022 |
Very well written biography of one of the seminal founding fathers. Having read Adams' biography last year, I now appreciate the animosity these two men had (from Adams' point of view, Hamilton was a monarchist). I was quite surprised to learn how much Hamilton did to create the United States (and having grown up in Virginia, the Federalist Papers were all about the genius of Madison when it was really Hamilton who was the moving force). I was also very surprised to learn about Jefferson's anti-Washington (as in the president) views. I need to read a biography of TJ to get his side of the story. ( )
  wahoo8895 | Nov 20, 2022 |
Through hard work, ambition, and education, Alexander Hamilton rose from poverty and adverse circumstances to become one of the founding fathers of the US. This book covers Hamilton’s humble beginnings in the Caribbean islands, early immigration to the US, role as trusted aide to George Washington, heroism at Yorktown, position as Secretary of the Treasury, authorship of The Federalist Papers, and contribution to the creation of a national bank. It illuminates his political opposition to Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr. It includes personal attributes, such as marriage to Elizabeth Schuyler, abolitionist views, involvement in America’s first sex scandal, and staunch defense of his integrity. This last is interesting in that he would rather put his marital infidelity on display than be perceived as lacking integrity in his political office. And, of course, it plays into his dramatic duel with Aaron Burr.

I had high expectations of this acclaimed biography and all were met or exceeded. I listened to the audio version, fluidly read by Scott Brick. Audio is a satisfying way to experience this book. Though it took 36 hours, it engaged my interest throughout. Detailed and descriptive, Chernow gives the reader a sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the man and his dedication to ensuring the endurance of the US constitution. I felt like I got to know what Alexander Hamilton was like as a person and learned more about this consequential period in American history.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
*4.5 ( )
  Fortunesdearest | Oct 23, 2022 |
An excellent biography of Alexander Hamilton. Chernow exposes both his vast contributions to US government and his significant failings which led to his untimely demise. Extraordinary detail and scholarship is evident in the book, yet it reads more like a novel. This book has given me the greatest insights unto our founding fathers than any other history I have read in the past. Required reading for all who want to know more about US history. ( )
  WEPhillips | Oct 20, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
In this favorable, hefty biography of Alexander Hamilton, Chernow (The Warburgs; The House of Morgan) makes the case for him as one of the most important Founding Fathers, arguing that America is heir to the Hamiltonian vision of the modern economic state. His sweeping narrative chronicles the complicated and often contradictory life of Hamilton, from his obscure birth on Nevis Island to his meteoric rise as confidant to Washington, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, and America's first Treasury secretary, to his bizarre death at the hands of Aaron Burr. A running theme is the contradictions exhibited during his life: a member of the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton nevertheless felt that the Constitution was seriously flawed and was fearful of rule by the people. A devoted father and husband, he had two known affairs. Lastly, he was philosophically and morally opposed to dueling, and yet that's how he met his end. Although quite sympathetic to Hamilton, Chernow attempts to present both sides of his many controversies, including Hamilton's momentous philosophical battles with Jefferson. Chernow relies heavily on primary sources and previously unused volumes of Hamilton's writings. A first-rate life and excellent addition to the ongoing debate about Hamilton's importance in the shaping of America.
added by kthomp25 | editLibrary Journal
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

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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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.

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The biography of one of America's founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, which became the basis for the hugely successful Broadway show Hamilton.
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