Alexander Hamilton

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

A New York Times Bestseller

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, 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, ...

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Overview

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

A New York Times Bestseller

In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, 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.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Winner of the 2005 George Washington Book Prize

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...[N]obody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow..." —The New York Times Book Review

"...[A] biography commensurate with Hamilton's character, as well as the full, complex context of his unflaggingly active life.... This is a fine work that captures Hamilton's life with judiciousness and verve." —Publishers Weekly

"A splendid life of an enlightened reactionary and forgotten Founding Father. Literate and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print, and a model of the biographer’s art."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"A robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all." —Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

"A brilliant historian has done it again! The thoroughness and integrity of Ron Chernow’s research shines forth on every page of his Alexander Hamilton. He has created a vivid and compelling portrait of a remarkable man—and at the same time he has made a monumental contribution to our understanding of the beginnings of the American Republic.” —Robert A. Caro, author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson

"Alexander Hamilton was one of the most brilliant men of his brilliant time, and one of the most fascinating figures in all of American history. His rocketing life-story is utterly amazing. His importance to the founding of the new nation, and thus to the whole course of American history, can hardly be overstated. And so Ron Chernow's new Hamilton could not be more welcome. This is grand-scale biography at its best—thorough, insightful, consistently fair, and superbly written. It clears away more than a few shop-worn misconceptions about Hamilton, gives credit where credit is due, and is both clear-eyed and understanding about its very human subject. Its numerous portraits of the complex, often conflicting cast of characters are deft and telling. The whole life and times are here in a genuinely great book." —David McCullough, author of John Adams

Forbes
This has been an especially good reading summer for devotees of American Colonial and Revolutionary his-tory. First and, in my opinion, the best of the many new books covering this period is Washington's Crossing--by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press, $35). Professor Fischer is a noted historian, whose Albion's Seed, published in 1989, tells the story of those descendants of the British who settled here and helped create the United States. His Paul Revere's Ride has also been widely and justly praised.

Washington's Crossing tells the complete story of General George Washington's most daring, risky and successful venture early in the war. Following a succession of victories by the British and their mercenary forces, which had resultedin the loss of New York for the Americans, the British were within sight of Philadelphia, where the new American Congress was sitting.

Washington's army had been all but destroyed, and the British were surging across New Jersey. Washington's decision to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night 1776, when it was considered virtually impossible, was a move both bold and foolhardy. A flotilla of small boats crammed with soldiers, guns and horses somehow rowed across the river through one of the East's worst winter snow and ice storms. (The crossing as painted by Emanuel Leutze in 1851 captured this event spiritually and has become a great icon of the Revolution.) By crossing the Delaware, Washington placed the remnants of his army in a position to trap the British behind Trenton and, a few days later, to give that army and the cause for which it fought its first real victory. In many ways the shots fired atTrenton were the shots "heard round the world."

Professor Fischer conveys in a remarkably realistic way what combat and the fog of war are actually like. But, more important, he tells the story of what it was like for Washington to lead a discouraged, underequipped army that was constantly being micromanaged by a divided Congress that couldn't--at least at the beginning--decide whether it wanted independence or, simply, to get the Stamp Act repealed.

For those who still wonder how the Revolutionaries ever defeated the huge British forces arrayed against them, both on land and at sea, this book makes clear that it was the military genius and leadership of George Washing-ton that turned almost certain defeat into victory. Washington's Crossing is an essential and exciting key to a more complete understanding and appreciation of what our ancestors did to win the Revolution.

A new biography, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (Penguin Press, $35), is another superb book I read this summer. Hamilton served as principal aide to General Washington from the early days of the Revolu-tion. This gave him a ringside seat at the formation of the United States and its implausible victory over the British, who had deployed one of the world's finest military machines but lost to a ragtag army of upstarts.

Chernow's splendid, thorough and brilliantly written biography gives us a new understanding of Hamilton's vi-tal role during the war and immediately after as Secretary of the Treasury of this new entity on the world's stage. I doubt that many people realize how much of our country's financial structure we owe to Alexander Hamilton. This book goes beyond the standard fare offered in most American history classes. Hamilton's towering intellect, as well as his many faults, and his long, fierce disagreements with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and many of the other Founding Fathers are presented here with almost shocking candor.

There have been other biographies of Hamilton, but Chernow's is far and away the most comprehensive and compelling of any I have read. It is a fitting tribute to the man who set the U.S. on the path that has made our nation the economic leader of the world.

Another treat for Revolutionary history enthusiasts is The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon S. Wood (Penguin Press, $25.95). This delightful new study focuses on the actual aristocratic and elitist views and opinions of this so-called populist leader, who was one of our best-loved, most influential and renowned spokesmen to the world.

Moving away from Revolutionary times, I next read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography byWilliam F. Buckley Jr. (Regnery Publishing, $29.95). Buckley, a major founder of today's sen-sible conservatism, has led an extraordinary life, which fully matches his extraordinary talents. His subtitle is apt, as the book contains essays on sailing, skiing, music, old friends and colleagues and all manner of other diverse subjects, which are united in that they have all been of interest to one of the best minds and writers in America today.
—Caspar Weinberger

Michael Lind
In Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow, the author of The House of Morgan, The Warburgs and Titan, a biography of John D. Rockefeller, has brought to life the Founding Father who did more than any other to create the modern United States … In this magisterial biography, Chernow tells the story not only of Hamilton but also of his wife, Eliza, a remarkable woman who died at the age of 97 in 1854.
The Washington Post
Janet Maslin
… Mr. Chernow sets himself a compelling task: to add a third dimension to conventional views of Hamilton while reaching beyond the limits of a personal portrait. If Alexander Hamilton reflects its subject's far from charismatic nature, it also provides a serious, far-reaching measure of his place in history. And Mr. Chernow has done a splendid job of capturing the backbiting political climate of Hamilton's times, to the point that no cow is sacred here. The "golden age of literary assassination in American politics," featuring Thomas Jefferson as a particularly self-serving schemer, sounds astonishingly familiar today.
The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
After hulking works on J.P. Morgan, the Warburgs and John D. Rockefeller, what other grandee of American finance was left for Chernow's overflowing pen than the one who puts the others in the shade? Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) created public finance in the United States. In fact, it's arguable that without Hamilton's political and financial strategic brilliance, the United States might not have survived beyond its early years. Chernow's achievement is to give us a biography commensurate with Hamilton's character, as well as the full, complex context of his unflaggingly active life. Possessing the most powerful (though not the most profound) intelligence of his gifted contemporaries, Hamilton rose from Caribbean bastardy through military service in Washington's circle to historic importance at an early age and then, in a new era of partisan politics, gradually lost his political bearings. Chernow makes fresh contributions to Hamiltoniana: no one has discovered so much about Hamilton's illegitimate origins and harrowed youth; few have been so taken by Hamilton's long-suffering, loving wife, Eliza. Yet it's hard not to cringe at some of Hamilton's hotheaded words and behavior, especially sacrificing the well-being of his family on the altar of misplaced honor. This is a fine work that captures Hamilton's life with judiciousness and verve. Illus. Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Apr 26) Forecast: National Book Award winner Chernow's reputation and track record with a previous bestseller could make Alexander Hamilton as popular with readers as Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. With a 300,000 first printing, Penguin is banking on it. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Foreign Affairs
Readers' interest in American history tends to oscillate between two periods: the Civil War and the Revolution. We are currently well into a Revolutionary period. A slew of best-selling historical works has been published in recent years on the American Founders — including studies of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. Now, Ron Chernow has produced an original, illuminating, and highly readable study of Alexander Hamilton that admirably introduces readers to Hamilton's personality and accomplishments.

Chernow penetrates more deeply into the mysteries of Hamilton's origins and family life than any previous biographer. And what a family it was. Hamilton, the only immigrant in the first ranks of the Founders, was the illegitimate son of a downwardly mobile Scottish father and a free-living and free-thinking woman of the West Indies. These difficult origins marked Hamilton for life as he struggled to integrate himself into the highest circles of American public life.

Library Journal
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. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. [BOMC and History Book Club main selections.]-Robert Flatley, Kutztown Univ. Lib., PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A splendid life of an enlightened reactionary and forgotten Founding Father. "In all probability," writes financial historian/biographer Chernow (Titan, 1998, etc.), "Alexander Hamilton is the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a much deeper and lasting impact than many who did." Indeed, we live in a Hamiltonian republic through and through, and not a Jeffersonian democracy. Many of the financial and tax systems that Hamilton proposed and put in place as the nation's first treasury secretary are with us today, if in evolved form, as Chernow shows; and though Hamilton was derided in his time as being pro-British and even a secret monarchist, Chernow writes, he was second only to George Washington in political prominence, at least on the practical, day-to-day front. The author wisely acknowledges but does not dwell unduly on Washington's quasi-paternal role in Hamilton's life and fortunes; unlike many biographies that consider Hamilton only in Washington's shadow, this one grants him a life of his own-and a stirring one at that, for Hamilton was both intensely cerebral and a man of action. He was, Chernow writes, a brilliant ancestor of the abolitionist cause; a native of the slave island of Nevis, he came to hate "the tyranny embodied by the planters and their authoritarian rule, while also fearing the potential uprisings of the disaffected slaves"-a dichotomy that influenced his views of ordinary politics. He was also constantly in opposition to things as they were, particularly where those things were Jeffersonian; as Chernow shows, Hamilton had early on been "an unusually tolerant man with enlightened views on slavery,Native Americans, and Jews," but became a crusty conservative near the end of his brief life (1755-1804), perhaps as a result of one too many personal setbacks at the hands of the Jeffersonians. Literate and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print, and a model of the biographer's art. Agent: Melanie Jackson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143034759
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 832
  • Sales rank: 27,216
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Ron Chernow

RON CHERNOW is the Pulitzer prize-winning author of five previous books. His first, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award. His two most recent books, Alexander Hamilton and Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.  Washington: A Life received the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Read an Excerpt

On the night of April 18, 1775, 800 British troops marched out of Boston to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock and seize a stockpile of patriot munitions in Concord, Massachusetts. As they passed Lexington, they encountered a motley battalion of militia farmers known as Minutemen, and in the ensuing exchange of gunfire the British killed 8 colonists and then 2 more in Concord. As the redcoats retreated helter-skelter to Boston, they were riddled by sniper fire that erupted from behind hedges, stone walls, and fences, leaving a bloody trail of 273 British casualties versus 95 dead or wounded for the patriots.

The news reached New York within four days and a mood of insurrection promptly overtook the city. People gathered at taverns and street corners to ponder events while Tories quaked. The newly emboldened Sons of Liberty streamed down to the East River docks, pilfered ships bound for British troops in Boston, then emptied the city hall arsenal of its muskets, bayonets, and cartridge boxes, grabbing a thousand weapons in all.

Armed with this cache, volunteer militia companies sprang up overnight. However much the British might deride these ragtag citizen-soldiers, they conducted their business seriously. Inflamed by the astonishing news from Massachusetts, Alexander Hamilton, then a student at King’s College (later Columbia University), was that singular intellectual who picked up a musket as fast as a pen. Nicholas Fish recalled that “immediately after the Battle of Lexington, [Hamilton] attached himself to one of the uniform companies of militia then forming for the defence of the country by the patriotic young men of this city under the command of Captain Fleming.” Fish and Robert Troup, both classmates of Hamilton, were among the earnest cadre of King’s College volunteers who drilled before classes each morning in the churchyard of nearby St. Paul’s Chapel. The fledgling volunteer company was named the Hearts of Oak. The young recruits marched briskly past tombstones with the motto of “Liberty or Death” stitched across their round leather caps. On short, snug green jackets they also sported, for good measure, red tin hearts that announced “God and our Right.”

Hamilton approached this daily routine with the same perfectionist ardor that he exhibited in his studies. Troup stressed the “military spirit” infused into Hamilton and noted that he was “constant in his attendance and very ambitious of improvement.” Never one to fumble an opportunity, Hamilton embarked on a comprehensive military education. With his absorbent mind, he mastered infantry drills, pored over volumes on military tactics and learned the rudiments of gunnery and pyrotechnics from a veteran bombardier. There was a particular doggedness about this young man, as if he were already in training for something far beyond lowly infantry duty.

On April 24, a huge throng of patriots massed in front of city hall. While radicals grew giddy with excitement, many terrified Tory merchants began to book passage for England. The next day, an anonymous handbill blamed Myles Cooper, the Tory president of King’s College, and four other “obnoxious gentlemen” for patriotic deaths in Massachusetts and said the moment had passed for symbolic gestures. “The injury you have done to your country cannot admit of reparation,” these five loyalists were warned. “Fly for your lives or anticipate your doom by becoming your own executioners.” A defiant Myles Cooper stuck to his post.

After a demonstration on the night of May 10, hundreds of protesters, armed with clubs and heated by a heady brew of political rhetoric and strong drink, descended on King’s College, ready to inflict rough justice on Myles Cooper. Hercules Mulligan recalled that Cooper “was a Tory and an obnoxious man and the mob went to the college with the intention of tarring and feathering him or riding him upon a rail.” Nicholas Ogden, a King’s alumnus, saw the angry mob swarming toward the college and raced ahead to Cooper’s room, urging the president to scramble down a back window. Because Hamilton and Troup shared a room near Cooper’s quarters, Ogden also alerted them to the approaching mob. “Whereupon Hamilton instantly resolved to take his stand on the stairs [the outer stoop] in front of the Doctor’s apartment and there to detain the mob as long as he could by an harangue in order to gain the Doctor the more time for his escape,” Troup recorded.

After the mob knocked down the gate and surged toward the residence, Hamilton launched into an impassioned speech, telling the boisterous protesters that their conduct, instead of promoting their cause, would “disgrace and injure the glorious cause of liberty.” One account has the slightly deaf Cooper poking his head from an upper-story window and observing Hamilton gesticulating on the stoop below. He mistakenly thought that his pupil was inciting the crowd instead of pacifying them and shouted, “Don’t mind what he says. He’s crazy!” Another account has Cooper shouting at the ruffians: “Don’t believe anything Hamilton says. He’s a little fool!” The more plausible version is that Cooper had vanished, having scampered away in his nightgown once Ogden forewarned him of the approaching mob.

Hamilton knew he couldn’t stop the intruders but he won the vital minutes necessary for Cooper to clamber over a back fence and rush down to the Hudson. Of all the incidents in Hamilton’s early life in America, his spontaneous defense of Myles Cooper was probably the most telling. It showed that he could separate personal honor from political convictions and presaged a recurring theme of his career: the superiority of forgiveness over revenge. Most of all, the episode captured the contradictory impulses struggling inside this complex young man, an ardent revolutionary with a profound dread that popular sentiment would boil over into dangerous excess.

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Table of Contents

Author's Note

Prologue: The Oldest Revolutionary War Widow
One: The Castaways
Two: Hurricane
Three: The Collegian
Four: The Pen and the Sword
Five: The Little Lion
Six: A Frenzy of Valor
Seven: The Lovesick Colonel
Eight: Glory
Nine: Raging Billows
Ten: A Grave, Silent, Strange Sort of Animal
Eleven: Ghosts
Twelve: August and Respectable Assembly
Thirteen: Publius
Fourteen: Putting the Machine in Motion
Fifteen: Villainous Business
Sixteen:
Dr. Pangloss
Seventeen: The First Town in America
Eighteen: Of Avarice and Enterprise
Nineteen: City of the Future
Twenty: Corrupt Squadrons
Twenty-One: Exposure
Twenty-Two: Stabbed in the Dark
Twenty-Three: Citizen Genet
Twenty-Four: A Disagreeable Trade
Twenty-Five: Seas of Blood
Twenty-Six: The Wicked Insurgents of the West
Twenty-Seven: Sugar Plums and Toys
Twenty-Eight: Spare Cassius
Twenty-Nine: The Man in the Glass Bubble
Thirty: Flying Too Near the Sun
Thirty-One: An Instrument of Hell
Thirty-Two: Reign of Witches
Thirty-Three: Works Godly and Ungodly
Thirty-Four: In an Evil Hour
Thirty-Five: Gusts of Passion
Thirty-Six: In a Very Belligerent Humor
Thirty-Seven: Deadlock
Thirty-Eight: A World Full of Folly
Thirty-Nine: Pamphlet Wars
Forty: The Price of Truth
Forty-One: A Despicable Opinion
Forty-Two: Fatal Errand
Forty-Three: The Melting Scene

Epilogue: Eliza

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Selected Books, Pamphlets, and Dissertations
Selected Articles
Index

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Customer Reviews

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( 103 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 104 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Best Biography I've Read To Date

    If you are interested in American History this is a MUST read, for as Chernow notes, "In all probability Alexander Hamilton is the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a more lasting impact than many who did." (pg 4)

    Chernow presents the facts of Hamilton's life as well as explores the psychology of the man. Although Hamilton's life was cut short, Chernow's piece is 731 pages full of incredible research that provides the best balance in a biography I've read to date.

    Beginning in Nevis in the British West Indies Chernow presents Hamilton's Huguenot background and explains his illegitimate status which had more to do with his mother's determination to free herself of a vindictive man creating a conundrum for herself. She was imprisoned for adultery and granted a divorce only with the caveat that she never be allowed to remary. Thus, when James Hamilton came into the picture Rachel could not legally marry. However, Hamilton's political critics later used his birth status to denote a much more sinister background. His early years laid the foundaiton for his later life. He was bilingual (French/English), he had a strong religious background that he would return to later in life, he felt deeply the abandonment of his father, he developed a strong aversion to slavery, developed a dread of tyranny and disorder, became astute in financial matters through his job as a clerk, and gained a tireless work ethic as he worked toward leaving the island and moving to America.

    Hamilton was a college student when the first signs of dissention came to bear between the Colonies and the Crown. It is during this time that his gift of pen and speech becomes noted among leaders. Hamilton soon caught the attention of George Washington and soon became Washington's most trusted Aide. This was the beginning of a relationship that would last a lifetime. Although frustrated with Washington's relunctance to allow Hamilton a more active role in the military, the relationship eventually grew to one of friends on equal status by the end of Washington's life. Hamilton was at his best when under the guidance of Washington.

    The trust he gained from Washington led to his appointment as Treasury Secretary where he leaves his most indelible mark. As Treasury Secretary, Hamilton created the Coast Guard, devised a plan to take care of American debt through assumption, established the first bank, created the tax system, established the Customs Service, laid the foundation for capitalism, helped establish judicial review, and allowed the US to enjoy a credit rating equal to European countries.

    While accomplishments were many, controversy did follow Hamilton. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding Hamilton's private life. First, there is a great deal of conjecture over the true nature of his relationship with John Laurens. Hamilton was certainly devastated when Lyons was killed during the Revolutionary War. Second, there is an unusually flirtatious relationship with his sister-in-law (his wife, Eliza's sister). Finally, there is the seemingly sexual obsession

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2006

    A detailed account of Hamilton's life, from Nevis to Weehawken

    Ron Chernow provides a well-reasearched and vivid picture into Hamilton's life. The man is often overlooked and overshadowed by the accomplishments of other founders such as Jefferson. This book tells Hamilton's life story as an immigrant from the West Indies. He was one fo the first to acheive what we now consider the American dream. Hamilton almost single handledly formed the treasury as well as the Bank of the United states despite obection from political enemies. Hamilton was arguably the most brilliant founder and this book is arguably the best biography on him. The downside with this is the length, about 731 pages(not including index, references, etc). It also is rather negative towards other political figures. Madison seems almost traitorous, Washington aloof, Adams crazy, Burr conniving. etc On Hamilton himself though, no other biography is better. Highly reccomended!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

    Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, published in April of 2004, is by far the most engaging and informative biography of any founding father I have ever read.
    Irrespective of your knowledge regarding Alexander Hamilton's life story, this remarkable book reads like a classic novel and is virtually impossible to place mark, I could not put it down.
    Cernow brilliantly raises Hamilton from the grave, as if you were present at Hamilton's very conception as well as his premature death at the hand of his antithesis, Aaron Burr, the once Vice President of Thomas Jefferson.
    The bastard child of a tenacious woman of questionable character for her time, the sparks of Alexander Hamilton's genius became evident to his earliest benefactor when as a boy his first poem was published, to the brain trust of George Washington, in war and throughout Washington's entire administration.
    In addition to his sense of honor, generosity, successes, failings and tragedies, Ron Chernow's biographical masterpiece expresses Hamilton's great passions, glory, pride, genius, vision, devotion and love of family and of his adopted nation, America.
    This book is so truthful that it will enthrall and provoke within you a gamut of emotions and enlighten you beyond measure.

    James J Reis

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    I haves always admired Hamilton. Thanks to Ron Chernow I know w

    I haves always admired Hamilton. Thanks to Ron Chernow I know why. Excellent!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2008

    Outstanding but long

    An excellent book, full of interesting information on Hamilton and the times. However, it was a bit long.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2014

    Outstanding. I really did not know too much about Hamilton. H

    Outstanding. I really did not know too much about Hamilton. However, Mr. Chernow's book was fascinating. I could not put it down. Even after I had finished the book, I could not stop thinking about the role Alexander Hamilton played in the history of the country. Hamilton was brilliant. And Aaron Burr was a scoundrel. This should be a recommended book for all students who are studying history and the politics of the USA.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    B

    G

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    I am 300+ pages into this book and to say it is a page turner is

    I am 300+ pages into this book and to say it is a page turner is an understatement!! all I want to do is read read read....I love it!!

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  • Posted July 21, 2012

    Recommend

    Magnificently detailed biography about major figure in early American history. I learned many facts and much background that I (a history major!) had not known or appreciated before. The book shows thorough research and is well indexed. Only "fault" might be that there are just a few too many detailed lists of people attending this or that meeting, etc. Well worth while reading for serious students of history!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Incredible!

    If you want to understanding our countries foundations, this is it. I thought i new, but truly i never knew.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    An Outstanding Book About An Extrraordinary Founder

    In many ways, Hamilton was a force of nature. He accomplishments were prodigious. Like a Greek tragedy, his life a doomed to end too early.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Highly remommend

    I could hardly put the book down. He was an amazing man. His life was one of total dedication to the American way of life as we now know it. It is right that his portrait be on our ten dollar bill. In my estiamton he ranks among the top five greatest men in America. If you are inclined to read about the America Revolution and its time frame, don't pass up the opportunity to get this book and read it. In our libray system in our state we have the unabridged book on tape of this man. I have listened to it twice. It has twenty nine CD'd. What an amzsing man. Once you have read it you may well feel the way I do.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    Awasome

    Awesome, great writing. i was drawn into the life of Hamilton

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2011

    Read this book

    I enjoyed this book very much. Chernow provides a thorough and complete biography of one of our more unknown or at least under appreciated founding fathers. Chernow provides a nice balance with information provided. Also, he does a good job of providing an unbiased review of Hamilton. Highly recommend this book and when you finish this I recommend Chernow's book on Washington.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    A must read for those interested in US history

    It took me quite a while to read this novel only because I needed to review what I had already read to be certain I missed no detail. Mr Chernow did a most excellent job of telling the story of the what I believe to be the most influential of the founding fathers.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Best American History Book I've Read

    You will surely learn much about one of the greatest founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, but you will come away with both a greater understanding and appreciation of our Country's founding.

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  • Posted April 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Triumph!

    Chernow literally retraced Hamilton's steps, from birth to the ill-fated duel and beyond, and thoroughly researched every aspect of Hamilton's life. This book shows how important Hamilton was in the formation of the new American government, and details the struggles in putting it into practice. Chernow also does a good job showing both the good and bad sides of Alexander Hamilton in regards to his personality, philosphies, and relationships (so it is not a biased version of how swell of an American he was and how horrible his rival Jefferson was). This book will make you see how important, yet contoversial, he was during the formative years of our country. After you read this he will not just be a face on the $10 bill. Best biography I have read to date...

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  • Posted January 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Chernow gives credit to a least known patriot.

    In my opinion, Ron Chernow's book on Hamilton was a great study into one of the many least known patriots of the Revolutionary War. If the man hadn't died in his dual with Aaron Burr, he probably would have been relegated to the back pages of our history books.
    Once you get into Chernow's book you soon get the sense that he had done a tremendous amount of research into the life of Alexander Hamilton. He covered everything about Hamilton including; his intellectual mind, writings, poor judgment, loving father, creator of the US banking system, a true believer in democracy and the constitution. It's sad in a way to read about Hamilton when you know that he will die in a duel just when he is at the peak of his calling. The book is an easy read and it's not cluttered up with a lot of details. Highly recommend.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    Amazing

    Amazing insight into the most influential, yet most underrated, founding father. This work provides a keen glimpse into the founding of the United States and its most stalwart institutions.... without seeming like a typical "historical biography."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

    To date, best biography of a Founding Father I've read.

    Ron Chernow does a phenomenal job in letting us understand who Alexander Hamilton was...and he was truly fascinating. Brilliant. Articulate. Caring. Vain. Sexy. This book had all the elements of an incredible read. I could not put it down.

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