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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
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Alexander Hamilton (edition 2005)

by Ron Chernow (Author)

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6,2391371,228 (4.34)196
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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Title:Alexander Hamilton
Authors:Ron Chernow (Author)
Info:Penguin Books (2005), 832 pages
Collections:SRG Prizes Adult and Teen, Your library
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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

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English (135)  Spanish (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Like everyone else, "Hamilton" captured my imagination. Had to find out more. Wonderfully readable, compelling bio. ( )
  beaujoe | Oct 11, 2021 |
This book was so much fun – in the way it uprooted quai-religious figures out of the history books and mutilated their Mt. Rushmore reputations, so that, in the end, I’ve come away believing that the Greatest Generation may not have been so great individually, but together were able to consolidate a great nation.

It feels like I started this book a lifetime ago. Chernow transported me to the jam-packed life of Alexander more than anybody else (though JJ Ellis, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and my APUSH teacher all come in close seconds.) The sweltering Caribbean hellhole of his deplorable upbringing; the forests and fields of his guerilla days as Washington’s aide-de-camp; the heady days he spent as finance secretary … this full portrait of Hamilton & environs was riveting. The writing ticked forward, expertly sewing together excerpts from letters and articles and stories passed down through the ages, as well as historical details and character sketches that came at just the right places.

I was astonished at how deeply Jefferson reviled Hamilton and at the efforts he took to tarnish Hamilton’s public character, so much so that I feel like Chernow may have painted old Thomas with a little too much chiaroscuro. (Most historians I've read do this, too, depicting TJ as a sly, hypocritical, fervent politician). Though to Chernow’s credit, no character escaped the heavy shading of his brush. Even Hamilton himself (whom Chernow lionizes), in the last half-decade of his life, went bonkers with bombastic, petty revenge fantasies and militaristic dreams of conquering empires a la France and Spain – not to mention his foolish “affair(s) of honor.”

GW came off as an unschooled bore with anger management problems, chaperoned by Hamilton throughout his entire presidency; Madison was a mousy introvert who turned his back on Hamilton as well as on the principles of the Constitution the moment his fellow Virginian TJ landed from France; Adams was a sensitive, petulant, ungrateful homebody; Monroe might’ve been actually evil.

It is my favorite thing about this era in history: the raucous divisions that emerged out of the cohesion of the Revolution, fueled by petty personal hatreds but also deeply representative of the fissures in American society itself. Greater-than-life characters are torn down but built up again, zits and all. But Hamilton might've been the most underrated one. Hamilton – the most partisan figure of all the Framers, a "bastard" and foreign "orphan" – was able to do so much, setting in place a financial system that's lasted through the ages, as well as deftly navigating the executive branch for Washington. He was a really inspiring man and Chernow does justice to his name. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
'
  tim917 | Jul 31, 2021 |
I am totally obsessed with the Hamilton musical, so of course I had to get my hands on the book that inspired it. I was completely unprepared for the saga that was hidden within these pages. Chernow has done impeccable and extensive research to revive the life of this forgotten Founding Father. Chernow offers a new look at Hamilton and is wonderfully unbiased, portraying him as both brilliant but deeply flawed. I have personally learned more from this book than I have from any history class. ( )
  Chinesa72 | Jul 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (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.
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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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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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