Alexander Hamilton: American

Alexander Hamilton: American

5.0 1
by Richard Brookhiser
     
 

With the verve and mastery of his acclaimed "Founding Father", Richard Brookhiser tells the astonishing and inspiring story of America's "forgotten" founder--self-made, seminal, and surprisingly scandalous.  See more details below

Overview

With the verve and mastery of his acclaimed "Founding Father", Richard Brookhiser tells the astonishing and inspiring story of America's "forgotten" founder--self-made, seminal, and surprisingly scandalous.

Editorial Reviews

Orlando Patterson
...[Provides] a portrait of Hamilton that brings out the true genius of the man in a volume that is both elegantly written and accessible to a mass audience....[S]ucceeds wonderfully in reminding us that Alexander Hamilton was, next to George Washington, the greatest of the Founding Fathers and that his life "can guide and caution us."
National Review
Terry Eastland
...[B]iography of the old-fashioned kind, unafraid to explore matters of character....Hamilton teaches the importance of private life, and indeed, to use the contemporary jargon, of family values.
The American Spectator
George McKenna
Alexander Hamilton: American is a compact, readable volume filled with vivid anecdotes and neatly put observations.
First Things Magazine
.Brookhiser profiles the man who did so much to frame the American Constitution and, implied by Brookhiser's title, what it means to be an American.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brookhiser (Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington) rediscovers another founding father. Hamilton was one of the epochal figures of the Revolutionary period--he collaborated with Madison on the Federalist papers, served as secretary of the treasury under Washington and, along with Jefferson, is largely responsible for the modern two-party system--but he was also one of the most controversial. John Adams called Hamilton a "bastard" and a "foreigner" (both charges held some degree of truth); Jefferson thought he was secretly "against the liberty of the country," an accusation Brookhiser emphatically disproves. Hamilton's death only increased his infamy; he fell in a duel with then Vice President Aaron Burr, an event that remains one of the most bizarre in American history. ("Imagine Al Gore shooting Donald Regan," Brookhiser writes.) In this slim but rewarding book, Brookhiser traces the entire course of Hamilton's professional and personal life. Though he doesn't shrink from the more unsavory episodes, such as Hamilton's adulterous affair with a married woman and her subsequent blackmail of him, the author clearly admires his subject. The only blemish is Brookhiser's occasional use of bubblegum psychology, as when he writes of Hamilton's desire to "be his father" as a driving force behind Hamilton's infidelity. Although he doesn't provide a substantive analysis of Hamilton's work (just four pages are given to the Federalist papers, arguably the most important contribution of Hamilton's career), Brookhiser gives us a valuable, incisive portrait both of Hamilton's character and of the character of young America.
Library Journal
Brookhiser is a senior editor at the National Review and an acolyte of conservative political commentators William F. Buckley Jr. and William Rusher. Given these credentials, it is not surprising to find that he admires Alexander Hamilton and other early Federalists. Even readers who do not share Brookhiser's political views, however, will find his new book authoritative and great fun to read. Brookhiser manages to make accessible even the most arcane financial policies of America's first secretary of the treasury. As in his earlier Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, Brookhiser manages in relatively few pages to offer a persuasive portrait of a founding father. Avoiding hagiography, he demonstrates that Hamilton was not an evil agent of big money and big government but genuinely an American in his devotion to the interests of the entire nation rather than to particular states, regions, or classes. Highly recommended. --Thomas J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., NY
Michael R. Beschloss
...[A] dramatic, compact biography that fairly gallops through Hamilton's picaresque life....succeeds in arguing that Hamilton deserves greater credit...for his brainpower, idealism, character and vision...
The New York Times Book Review
Richard A. Samuelson
...Brookhiser's book is an informative and edifying introduction to an often misunderstood figure. Though there are more comprehensive accounts of Hamilton's life and times, none so forcefully reminds us of the abidingly American quality of his legacy.
Commentary
Kirkus Reviews
A compact, compelling biography of one of the greatest, though comparatively overlooked, of the nation's founders. While Brookhiser (Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, 1996), an editor at the National Review and a contributor to the New York Observer, is dead wrong that "there is nothing else by or about" Alexander Hamilton (what of biographies by Jacob Cooke, Broadus Mitchell, and Nathan Schachner?), his biography will quickly take its place as vastly more discerning than any of its predecessors. While Hamilton lacked the range, learning, and prudence of the other founders, he arguably possessed the most powerful intelligence of any of them. Moreover, foreign-born and illegitimate, his identity as an American, rather than as a Virginian or New Yorker, was deeper and more emotional than that of his great contemporaries. Brookhiser's achievement is to capture the full nature of this flawed but great man-and to characterize him as nationalist, idealist, and visionary-in a lively and insightful biography. Along the way, the author gives us deft portraits of Hamilton's contemporaries and analyses of the events in which Hamilton played a major role. Brookhiser also breaks new ground in portraying his subject as a masterful journalist and writer and raises him into the ranks of the nation's greatest newspaper essayists-not only for his brilliant contributions to The Federalist but also for countless other works. Hamilton's "relationship with words," writes the author, "was intimate and inexhaustible." Brookhiser is especially good at concise explanation of the young nation's finances and at descriptions of the bitter political violence of the 1790s-passionate battles thatmake our own political squabbles seem like tea-party talk. Trying to strengthen Hamilton's reputation, Brookhiser occasionally goes overboard in speculating about his subject's psychological needs and extracting contemporary lessons from Hamilton's behavior and ideas, but the results of his efforts are always plausible. Hamilton has gained a fair, sympathetic, and always objective biographer-and a biography for our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684839196
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
03/10/1999
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.39(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.04(d)

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