Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

by Ron Chernow
4.5 148

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Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton!

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.

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 

Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101200858
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/29/2005
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 832
Sales rank: 668
Lexile: 1280L (what's this?)
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

Ron Chernow is the prize-winning author of six books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton was the inspiration for the Broadway musical. His new biography, Grant, will be published in October 2017. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Alexander Hamilton 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 148 reviews.
jjricochet More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
WaldoRWE More than 1 year ago
I haves always admired Hamilton. Thanks to Ron Chernow I know why. Excellent!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of American history and yet this book told me tons that I never knew about Alexander Hamilton. Like everyone, he was far from perfect but he was a great patriot. Rising from humble beginnings in the West Indies, he was George Washington's right-hand man for most of the Revolutionary War. He was also Washington's most important and influential Cabinet member. Amazing descriptions of how he set up the US Treasury Dept. and got the American economy on a stable footing. Terrific book. Rather long (over 700 pages) but fascinating reading for people who really love American history. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear Mr. Chernow, Thank you for writing this book because without it there would be no Hamilton on Broadway and I would actually be doing my homework right now instead of fangirling. I love Lin and you are amazing. I want to play Eliza or Peggy/Maria. Sincerely, Hamilton and Overall Theatre Nerd and Fangirl
FlyerFan More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hamilton was a genius, but this book made him sound infallible. Even a genius can make a mistake, and he made the ultimate one that unfortunately cost him dearly. Men labeled as Republicans which we know was not established until mid 19th century. If not known, i would say this book was written by Alexander Hamilton himself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, reads like fiction, meticulouly researched and even handed. A great complement to his Washington biography.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the book that inspired Lin manuel Miranda to write the broadway musical Hamilton which is #1 on broadway right now ahhhh Lin Manuel Miranda read this exact book ahhh want to read it so badly
MerleF More than 1 year ago
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!
soloprate More than 1 year ago
Awesome, great writing. i was drawn into the life of Hamilton
kkid1 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read biographies on all the Founding Fathers but none so good as this one. It is full of insights and stories, not just about Hamilton, but the rest of his compatriots as well. We see the greatness of Washington and the cowardice of Jefferson. The fight between Federalists and Republicans is brought vividly to life. Most of all, however, we see the genius and vulnerability of Hamilton. We get to feel his frustrations and pain and glimpse at his towering genius. I have not stopped thinking about this book in the two weeks since I finished it. I found myself staring at his image on the book's cover, amazed at what I had just read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent book, full of interesting information on Hamilton and the times. However, it was a bit long.
Anonymous 14 days ago
This serious study of Hamilton underscores his genius as well as his fallacies, some of which resulted in compromises in crafting the US Constitution. The political situation of 2017 note that democracy is based upon the shared-principles of politicians. We now know that we are living through a period that Hamilton feared: politicians who desire to exploit the weaknesses of that assumption. Thus, this book is a guidebook for understanding how to improve the philosophy of US democracy.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Fills in the gaps in Hamilton the musical. Can see why it inspired Lin Manuel Miranda.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Love Hamilton. Awesome book.
SecondRunReviews 10 months ago
I’ll admit that I’ve always found the founding of the United States to be a bit dry and boring. And I’ll freely admit that Ron Chernow and narrator Grover Gardner did nothing to change my mind on that matter. So why did I listen to Alexander Hamilton? I knew there was no way I would make it through 818 pages of American history on my own. I’m slightly obsessed with the musical so I had to give the source material “my best shot.” Mr. Gardner’s voice was pleasant enough to listen to and it was pretty cool to hear lines from the book reflected in the lyrics that pretty much run non-stop through my head every day. I’m thankful, that without realizing it, my library only had the abridged version. It clocks in at 11 hours and 34 minutes. The unabridged version is closer to 36 hours. I am almost certain I would not have survived the unabridged version. I did learn that, of course, the musical takes some liberties with Hamilton’s story to make it exciting. It was interesting to learn how much of Hamilton’s life paralleled Aaron Burr’s and how determined Hamilton was to prove himself to everyone he met and worked with. I can understand why Hamilton’s struggle to be seen as someone who mattered and as someone would could make a difference resonates with so many in the 21st century. So would I recommend reading Alexander Hamilton? It depends on how you much you like history. It would also depend how devoted you are to reading the source material for the musical. If the American Revolution is your cup of tea. Definitely give it a shot. If you get a kick out reading source materials for adaptations. Definitely give it shot. Just be warned that politics and wars are a bloody business and not all that exciting when played out shot for shot.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks to an opera about Hamilton inspired by this book, I undertook this reading. Though it dragged a bit about the 500's, I plowed on and was rewarded by this exhaustive biography. If you like to read about unsung heroes, this book is for you. Now in the autumn of my life, I am pleased to have set the record straight on this early hero of our country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book teaches much about how the United States formed. I strongly suggest it for all who take our history and nation seriously.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago