Duel!: Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words

Duel!: Burr and Hamilton's Deadly War of Words

by Dennis Brindell Fradin, Larry Day
     
 

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In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor.

These Founding Fathers, once friends and colleagues, had become the bitterest of enemies. After

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Overview

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1804, two men stood facing each other on a New Jersey cliff side. One was the U.S. vice president, Aaron Burr, and the other was Alexander Hamilton, the secretary of the treasury. They were ready to fight to the death for honor.

These Founding Fathers, once friends and colleagues, had become the bitterest of enemies. After years of escalating tension, Burr had finally challenged Hamilton to a duel. In the end, only one man survived, but their infamous rivalry lives on.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Fradin brings to life a little-known but important moment in American history. He first returns to the early lives of his two protagonists, enemies with much in common, briefly bringing them up to the time after the Revolution. The rivalry between Burr and Hamilton goes from New York City law courts to the politics of both state and federal government. Angry letters and words are exchanged. When Burr feels that Hamilton's actions have led to his defeat in the election for governor, he challenges him to apologize, or to a duel. Hamilton accepts the duel. They meet on July 11, 1804, across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Hamilton is fatally shot. Burr's reputation and political future are destroyed. But both were at fault in this unfortunate event. Day uses the large pages to effectively emphasize the drama; the boat rowing in the gray of dawn, the four spreads of the duel, the sad return to the boat of the wounded Hamilton, etc. Watercolors and gouache effectively suggest appropriate contexts while detailing the main action. The humanity of the characters is emphasized. There is a map on the end pages, along with a note on dueling and a bibliography. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- Fradin's account of the Aaron Burr/Alexander Hamilton feud makes compelling, child-appropriate reading. The author vividly shows how some aspects of politics have not changed over the past 200 years, including negative campaigning and smear tactics. The account is short and fast moving with Fradin choosing key points in Hamilton's and Burr's lives that illustrate how they arrived at the duel. Describing events from their difficult childhoods, their service as aides to George Washington, their work as lawyers in New York and in positions in federal government, the author demonstrates that both men were to blame for the situation. His focus remains consistent in leading up to their final confrontation in 1804. Beginning with an arresting close-up perspective of Burr's dueling pistol on the front cover, the illustrations capture attention and convey details of the topic. The characters' expressive faces add emotion to the facts. Rendered in watercolor and gouache with pen-and-ink accents, the pictures are realistic, but not in a photographic sense. Incorporating primary sources in a dramatic style, Duel! presents a gripping view of men revered by history but not really known.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802795830
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
06/24/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Dennis Brindell Fradin is the author of Let It Begin Here! Lexington & Concord: First Battles of the American Revolution and The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence, which won numerous awards, including an ALA Notable, an ABC Choice Award, and an IRA Teacher's Choice Award. The New York Times Book Review called it "fascinating for young historians and just about anyone else." Dennis lives in Evanston, Illinois, with his wife, Judith.

Larry Day has illustrated several picture books, including Let It Begin Here! and Not Afraid of Dogs, an SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner, while working in the advertising industry. His illustrations have appeared in the Chicago Tribune Magazine and in several exhibits, including his own shows. Larry lives in Downer's Grove, Illinois, with his wife, Melanie, and their two sons.

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