Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow...the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me. -Burr
This book is utterly exhaustive in its scope. Dry and dull in a few places, exhilarating and taut and heartbreaking in others. This feels like a life done justice, although I am also curious about the biography that Eliza started and her son finished after she was gone. I loved the framing with Eliza in the prologue and epilogue. Loved piecing together where the book and musical met, loved the bits where they diverged. Loved stumbling upon the actual historical lines from letters and writings that made it into the musicals brilliant score. Shout out to Scott Brick for bringing this book to life for my ears the way few could.
I am so tired. It is so long. I want to see Hamilton. -Eliza
Chosen by my book-club as our mega-read for the December hiatus, we decided to kick off by being both ambitious and politically astute. It is timely, after all. Those who know me are probably surprised to see a non-fiction book on anything, much less historical politics, appear on my reading list. Working his way up from nothing, a poor immigrant with a splotchy family history, Hamilton symbolizes the American way and represents the hardships of a self-made man. Derided at the time by his affluent political enemies Jefferson, Madison, Adams as a money-grubbing monarchist, the acclaimed father of capitalism never did anything by halves. Hamilton both excelled and failed in very visible, public ways.
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Since then, Chernow’s erudite biography has inspired a theatrical sensation, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical Hamilton, which started its Broadway run in , and received 16 Tony nominations in , scooping The musical celebrates the multicultural United States of.
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A lexander Hamilton, one of the late 18th-century Founding Fathers of the United States and its first treasury secretary, has enjoyed only limited name recognition in the UK. But that is changing. Hamilton did champion a strong executive and a professional military, but his attempts to equip the fragile new republic for the harsh realities of competitive inter-state relations have earned him only obloquy. Notwithstanding its long afterlife, the caricature of the sinister un-American plotter successfully peddled in Jeffersonian propaganda is a travesty. Indeed, it was his precocious skill as a writer that rescued the teenage Hamilton from a life that, at best, seemed to offer only penurious dependence, drudgery or worse. His mother Rachel Faucette was of French Huguenot stock and unhappily married on the Danish island of St Croix to a crushingly patriarchal Dane, Johann Michael Lavien, who had her imprisoned at one point in Fort Christiansvaern for adultery; his supposed father, James Hamilton, was the feckless younger son of a Scottish laird from Stevenston in Ayrshire.