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Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow


Overview - Previewed week of March 7, 2005
From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades," now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.  Read more...


 
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More About Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
 
 
 
Overview
Previewed week of March 7, 2005
From National Book Award winner Ron Chernow, a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.

Ron Chernow, whom the New York Times called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades," now brings to startling life the man who was arguably the most important figure in American history, who never attained the presidency, but who had a far more lasting impact than many who did.

An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington's aide-de-camp, a member of the Constitutional Convention, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, leader of the Federalist party, and the country's first Treasury secretary. With masterful storytelling skills, Chernow presents the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his illicit romances; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.

For the first time, Chernow captures the personal life of this handsome, witty, and perennially controversial genius and explores his poignant relations with his wife Eliza, their eight children, and numberless friends. This engrossing narrative will dispel forever the stereotype of the Founding Fathers as wooden figures and show that, for all their greatness, they were fiery, passionate, often flawed human beings.

Alexander Hamilton was one of the seminal figures in our history. His richly dramatic saga, rendered in Chernow's vivid prose, is nothing less than a riveting account of America's founding, from the Revolutionary War to the rise of the first federal government.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781594200090
  • ISBN-10: 1594200092
  • Publisher: Penguin Press
  • Publish Date: April 2004
  • Page Count: 832
  • Dimensions: 9.54 x 6.6 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.85 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Political
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Historical - General
Books > History > United States - General

 
BookPage Reviews

The life of an unsung founding father

Other than George Washington, no other American leader was present at more turning points in the early years of the Republic than Alexander Hamilton. He was a rarity among the founding fathers: an outstanding thinker as well as excellent government visionary and executive. In his well-researched Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow contends that Hamilton was "the foremost political figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a deeper and more lasting impact than many who did."

Chernow received the National Book Award for The House of Morgan and is also the author of the best-selling Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. In Alexander Hamilton, we follow the subject from his illegitimate birth—which probably took place on the island of Nevis in the West Indies—to his roles as a close aide to General Washington and a military hero during the Revolution. He later became a member of the Constitutional Convention; the force behind the literary and political masterpiece The Federalist; the first secretary of the Treasury; and a fierce political polemicist whose writings helped define the political agenda during the Washington and Adams administrations.

Alexander Hamilton is a balanced portrait of the man and his many contradictions. For example, Chernow describes him as a man whose strong belief in the potential of America stood in stark contrast to his pessimistic views of human nature. Among the founders, it was Hamilton who "probably had the gravest doubts about the wisdom of the masses and wanted elected leaders who could guide them." Influenced by his contact with slaves in the West Indies, he was a staunch abolitionist.

There is much more, including Hamilton's role in establishing an American foreign policy, his part in the birth of the two-party system and of course, his death at age 49 in his famous duel with Aaron Burr. Admirers of David McCullough's John Adams or Walter Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin will thoroughly enjoy this excellent book.

Roger Bishop is a Nashville bookseller and a frequent contributor to BookPage.

 
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