Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

80%

10 Critic Reviews

...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.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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 




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Ron Chernow

See more books from this Author
Ron Chernow is the 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, were both nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography. Chernow lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published March 29, 2005 by Penguin Books. 826 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 10 2016
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Critic reviews for Alexander Hamilton
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 24 2010

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.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 10 2015

...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.

Read Full Review of Alexander Hamilton | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Dec 21 2004

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...This is a fine work that captures Hamilton's life with judiciousness and verve.

Read Full Review of Alexander Hamilton | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

San Francisco Chronicle

Above average
Reviewed by Justin Martin on Apr 25 2004

In the end, despite its tragic arc, there's something strangely uplifting about Hamilton's story. More than anything, his life is a testament to the fact that ideas have a vibrant existence quite apart from the people who dream them up.

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The Seattle Times

Above average
Reviewed by Steve Raymond on Apr 25 2004

This isn't a book to take to the beach this summer, unless you're planning to spend summer on a desert island. It requires a substantial investment of time and attention. But, as Alexander Hamilton might have said, you can be assured the investment will pay handsome returns, plus interest.

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AuthorsDen

Above average
Reviewed by David A. Schwinghammer on Apr 22 2010

Although Chernow is a definite Hamiltonian (as opposed to a Jeffersonian) he does not sugar-coat Hamilton's many flaws.

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Journey With Jesus

Above average
on Dec 10 2015

Ron Chernow's magisterial biography commemorates the 200th anniversary of the death of Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804), who was killed in a duel by then vice president Aaron Burr.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Weatherby76 on Dec 21 2015

Containing wit, intellect, and curiosity, this story is fast-paced, thoughtful, and powerful, bringing down from the old portraits one of the greatest figures of his generation. After 200 years, justice has been delivered to Alexander Hamilton.

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https://rhapsodyinbooks.wordpress.com

Above average
on Jul 11 2009

It took me around 80 pages until I got truly engaged in the book, but once I did, I enjoyed it immensely, and was sad when it was over!

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https://www.commentarymagazine.com

Good
on Nov 01 2004

“Justice shall be done to the memory of my Hamilton.” With this sprawling, enthralling biography, Ron Chernow has come closer than anyone else to fulfilling her charge.

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Denise Pittman 8 Sep 2016

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