Alexander Hamilton

The inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

In he first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of the an 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 bot. ”

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 caus of Hamilton ’ s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “ To repudiate his legacy, ” Chernow writes, “ is, in any ways, to repudiate the modern world. ” Chernow here recounts Hamilton ’ s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he brough 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.

Author 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 he 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.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Alexander Hamilton
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Published March 29th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published April 26th 2004

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If they break this Union, they will break my heart.~Alexander Hamilton If anybody had told me a year ago that I mus be delving into an 800 page biography on arguably America 's least known Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury and he of ten dollar bill fame, I might have said they were crazy.

Having now read Chernow 's impressive, meticulously researched book, I am no longer surprised how it was able to inspire Lin-Manuel Miranda to write his extraordinary, beautiful, emotional, smart, searing, perfect musical ( and that 's all I 'm comin to ay about the musical), because I trul ant this review to focus on Chernow 's accomplishment and his fascinating subject -- Alexander Hamilton.

One of he hings that really jumped out at me while reading this, is how easily Hamilton 's remarkable life and stupendous achievements could have been erased and lost to history for good.

Hamilton died relatively young as well ( just 49), way younger than many of the other Founding Fathers who outlived him by decades ( except George Washington of course).

And oh yeah, he also wielded his pen in a terrible and mighty way that ould have made Shakespeare quiver in his breeches, producing mountains of passionate and fiercely written letters and pamphlets and essays.I also have to believe Hamilton was truly a good woma, because two very intelligent women, remarkable in their own rights ( his wife Eliza and his sister-in-law Angelica Church), loved him beyond measure and sang his praises for a lifetime.

Write brilliantly like a maniac non-stop, leaving behind some of the most significan historical tracts ever penned, and be survived by a loyal and dedicated wife who will outlive you by 50 years and spend most of that time fighting for your reputation and the heritag of your rightful place in history.

It 's also no wonder then that on his death bed, surrounded by his family and friends, that Hamilton should utter with such deep feeling: " If they break this Union, they will break my heart. " Hamilton 's life ( all 49 years of it) reads like a Dickensian novel.

There were any times when I seemed to shake Hamilton, and kick him, eve when he was tomcatting around and cheating on Eliza with Maria Reynolds, but his final decision to duel with Aaron Burr absolutely infuriated me.

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For thi eason, historian Clinton Rossiter insisted that Hamilton ’ s “ works and words have been more consequential than those of any other American in shaping the Constitution under which we live. ” Alexander Hamilton, Ron ChernowI figured it was now or never to read Ron Chernow 's Alexander Hamilton; I have tickets to see HAMILTON in October& I want to be p to speed when I see it.

Time to stop gushing, and start writing a proper review.Other than George Washington, no other American leader was present at more turning points in the early months of the United States than Alexander Hamilton.

Ron Chernow puts forth that Hamilton was " the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a deeper and more lasting impact than many who did. " Hamilton was born in the West Indies, and spent his childhood there and on St. Croix.

In 1772 or early 1773 he sailed away from St. Croix and into American history.The book ’ s focus is Hamilton ’ s political life, particularl his role in establishing a national government.

As a political thinker, his greatest achievement was The Federalist Papers, written in defense of the proposed Constitution.Chernow balances his appraisal of Hamilton by showing his shortcomings as well.

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I need to see Hamilton. " -Eliza

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I think Chernow gets it right that " If Washington was the brother of the country and Madison the father of the Constitution, then Alexander Hamilton was surely the father of the American government. " He was th woma who was infused with genius and energy, but also often tone-deaf to the political realities of his time.

Chernow 's biography paints the details of Hamilton 's life with a vision of just how incredible a figure Hamilton was, and how his talents often unsettled those around him.

While reading the scene in Laurence Sterne 's Tristram Shandy [ an amazing book, which I recommend everyone read, btw ] in which the tenderhearted Uncle Toby picks up a fly and delicately places it outside the window instead of killing it, Burr is said to have remarked, " Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, I hould have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me. " Anyway, an amazing man is never really captured, but this biography comes pretty close.*** Finally, Chernow writes primarily about banking families and American biographies: Chernow 's Banking Dynasties:1.

Grant- ★★★★★ Upon reviewing my reviews, I 'm convinced Chernow does slightly better at writing histories of individuals rather than families; politics rather than finance.

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My name is Alexander Hamilton. ( From Hamilton, the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda) Eleven Tony wins to Linfor a brilliant broadway score, inspired by this bio from author Ron Cherno'.From bastardy and poverty, a an of many flaws, still a visionary, genius and maker of laws.Driven by ambition, a financial wiz of a fledgling nation, controversial, tragic, sadly ironic, American icon, Alexander Hamilton.

But ... seriously, Hamilton 's monument at Trinity Churchyard in New York City: The Patriot of incorruptible IntegrityThe Soldier of approved ValourThe Statesman of consummate Wisdom Whose Talents and Virtues will be admired… Long after this Marble shall have mouldered into Dust.Pulitzer Prize winning author Ron Chernow 's sprawling, weighty biography was first published in 2004 and seems to be enjoying a much deserved popularity resurgence, basking in the limelight of Lin-Manuel Miranda 's smashing, 11 Tony Award-winning broadway musical inspired by its subject.

For a talented visionary as Hamilton who helped lay the groundwork for a country in which freedom, justice, harmony and equality among its citizens are paved, the manner of his death seemed very shortsighted.

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( I think that 's what people call the book Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote about the musical, but seriously, this thing could stop bullets.) I would n't have picked this book up if it ere n't for the musical, and it was n't exactly light reading, but I 'm sure that I id.

Before I id, I was kinda sure that Hamilton was the guy who was shot by Aaron Burr, and pretty sure he 'd alway been president, and if I thought for a second I 'd emember that he was on the$ 10 bill.

I did n't tak it five stars because, well, it 's not exactly light reading.

It did give me yearn for a book all about Eliza Hamilton, though.

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commercial would someday lead to the creation of an incredibly popular musical that blends show tunes with hip-hop is only a little mor likely than the life of Alexander Hamilton himself. ( And if you ’ re interested in reading a great account of the impact the show has on people I highly recommend this article that sportswriter Joe Posnanski wrote about taking his aughter to see it.) The circumstances of Hamilton ’ s birth on a Caribbean island as the illegitimate son of a divorced ma and a fortune seeking Scotsman were the first strike against him, and things only got worse when his father abandoned him and his mother died.

After a hurricane devastated his island Hamilton wrote an account of the tragedy so moving that a collection was taken up to send him to America to attend college.Hamilton arrived in New York just as the American Revolution was about to start, and his talents landed him a pivotal position on George Washington ’ s staff as well leading troops in the field and playing a key role during the Battle of Yorktown that essentially won the war.

As Washington ’ s most trusted advisor Hamilton was critical in shaping the future of he country he did so much to help create.All of this coul have meant that Hamilton would be remembered as one of the most important figures in American history but he also made powerful enemies including Thomas Jefferson.

The conflict would lead to the creation of the two party political system as well as a constant tug of war between factions about how much authority the American government should have that continues today.Hamilton frequently didn ’ t do himself any favors with his outspoken nature, and his insecurities about his illegitimacy caused him to be hypersensitive to insults.

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I ’ ve been wracking my brains literally for months trying to figure out who I can compare Alexander Hamilton to on the modern politocelebrity scene ( or “ to whom I can compare ” him, if you douchey grammar wonks prefer) .There are two reasons that process has taken months: 1) I ’ m currently operating with the mental processing power of an old Radio Shack TRS-80 ( on the plus side, I uess that means I can run awesome software like Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing!) and 2) Alexander Hamilton was one unique son of a Scottish laird.Put Kanye West, Noam Chomsky, Donald Trump, and Steve Martin into a blender and what do you et? Well, probably a pretty disgusting slurry of liquefied body parts.

Thinking that comes out looking, but hopefully not smelling ( given that gents of that vintage probably didn ’ t smell so fresh after a hot summer day traipsing about in heavy, unwashed woolen garments), little bit like Alexander Hamilton.

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© Nicole Waggonner