Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Book - 2004
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Penguin Putnam

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. 

Baker & Taylor
The personal life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States, is captured in a definitive biography by the National Book Award-winning author of The House of Morgan. Reprint.

& Taylor

Traces the life of Alexander Hamilton, an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who rose to become George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.

Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2004
ISBN: 9780143034759
Branch Call Number: BIO Hamilton, A 2004
Characteristics: 818 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 25, 2019

Epic read about the most important Founding Father many have never heard of (at least until the musical). I found the first several chapters rather hard going, but it got better as I went along. Many of the things we take for granted in our system of government were devised by Alexander Hamilton. The author is much harder on John Adams than David McCulloch was. Perhaps the most important facts I learned from the book was that various Founding Fathers were conspiracy theorists not unlike what we are facing today (mainly for political gain, but perhaps they believed it too) and blatant lies were spread around by much of the media (back then, newspapers or pamphlets). So perhaps this country is just in a part of a recurring cycle. At least I hope so.

Aug 08, 2018

Wow, epic book about an epic life! Ron Chernow delivers a masterpiece. I don’t know how he could get at all the information, much less present it in a very readable book-but he does a wonderful job. The brilliance of Hamilton just keeps coming at you. I have read other Chernow biographies, Washington and Grant, and this is as good. A must read for people who want insight into the era and to see how the founders built our country.

Apr 29, 2018

If you want detail to flesh out the musical, you’ve got it in this book. I am amazed how Lin Manual Miranda was able to take a scholarly tome like this and make a hit musical out of it. Well worth reading, but it will take some time to read.

Alexander Hamilton Revolutionary is a great book that provides very much historical information while also staying interesting. A smart, orphaned boy, alexander Hamilton, moves to New York to study law. Alexander joins the Americans as they fight for their independence, participating in many key battles. After he helps form a government for the new nation, Alexander founds a bank before killed by long time enemy Aaron Burr. I like how much information was given about the life of Alexander Hamilton and even other major historical events such as the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America. I was able to learn a lot from this book. This book presented conflict very well with conflict happening throughout the entire story. The plot of this story was well presented flowing from the beginning to the end. I think this book would be most appreciated by history enthusiasts and people who enjoy reading a lot.
Reviewed by R.Z. for the Cloverdale Teen Book Review Project

Jan 23, 2017

You will enjoy reading every word in this book if you are a history buff, otherwise, speed reading, contemplating only on the paragraphs or chapters that spur your interest. It is nevertheless a literary gem by the author conveying Hamilton.

VaughanPLChristineO Jan 04, 2017

Yes, this book is super long and there are a lot of words that are difficult to understand. Although I did read it all, you don't have to. I really enjoed the flowery prose that Hamilton is quoted using but you can skip to the juicy bits and there are a few.
For the more serious reader of American history this book laid out in an easy to understand way why democracy looks like it does in today's society. This book covers a lot of ground (related to independence) and taught me about areas of American history I didn't know I should know. Recommended for teens and adults.

Sep 17, 2016

I did not know how much I did not know about this person. It is an amazing story about him and the other "founding fathers". I felt that I got to know them--especially how human they all were. I also learned that politics has not changed much in our country"s history. Same bitterness and polarization.

gnatreads Aug 23, 2016

Well worth the number of pages - fascinating and compelling, providing insight into Hamilton's amazing life and those of all of our founding fathers,

Aug 15, 2016

I confess I probably would not have read this lengthy biography if I weren’t going to see the hit Broadway musical HAMILTON next month. Author Ron Chernow skillfully presents an in-depth study of the brilliant statesman and Founding Father who was the principal designer of institutions which continue today, including the federal government, the financial system, and the Coast Guard. Through his prolific writings, a complete picture emerges of Alexander Hamilton both in his professional and personal lives. Other famous historical figures from this period, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and James Monroe, come to life through their interactions with Hamilton. What I took away from this tome was that even in it’s infancy, US politics was not immune to it’s share of scandal and divisive discourse (some of which makes our current national and state campaigns pale in comparison). The issues Hamilton and his contemporaries debated sound all too familiar: immigration, taxes, “big” vs “small” government, as well as America’s role in the world. It is hard to fathom how much more Hamilton would have achieved had his own personality not gotten in the way.

Aug 14, 2016

An excellent historical textbook on Hamilton. He was a true genius and I didn't realize what an important role that he played in the founding and preserving our nation. One of our true American heroes.

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Mar 15, 2019

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Jul 28, 2016

Taunted as a bastard throughout his life, Hamilton was understandably reluctant to chat about his childhood- "my birth is the subject of the most humiliating criticism," he wrote in one pained confession and he turned his early family history into a taboo topic, alluded to in only a couple of cryptic letters.


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