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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 beforefrom 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.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
This is the exhaustive account of the life and times of one of the most influential founding fathers. Written beautifully and informative as possible. Chernow is an amazing historian who happens to be an amazing writer as well. Download the free copy of Hamilton's Federalist Papers to refer back to while reading this book. Must read for sure.
A gripping narration of the often-forgotten Founding Father
Though I was familiar with Alexander Hamilton's role in the founding of the nation, I did not appreciate the breath of his experiences throughout his lifetime. Chernow does a fantastic job bringing these stories forward in an engaging way that makes the book difficult to put down. To anyone who enjoys American history, this book book is an extremely enjoyable experience and will provide new appreciation for a man who was arguably as important to the founding of this nation as Washington or Jefferson.
Do yourself a favor and read this book! It will permanently change your view of the history of America. I especially love the in-depth look at how especially nasty politics could be back in the very beginning.