Apr. 8th, 2017

alexeia_drae: (caress)
Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This is undoubtedly the best biography I've read for several years. Like many I was inspired to read this thanks to the musical, and it quickly became apparent to me that Hamilton's life was so interesting and filled with so much drama that every three chapters could have been a complete musical in its own right.

That Hamilton was an interesting man who packed a lot of achievements into his short life and was full of contradictions helps, but Chernow still gets credit for presenting a lot of information and placing it in it's historical context while making it an interesting and compelling read. My only quibble was at times he would sacrifice sequential order of events to tackle them subject by subject, and this was especially noticeable while relating Hamilton's achievements during Washington's first term and the fall out from the Maria Reynolds affair. I like things sequentially, though I can see why he would group it by topic, particularly Washington's first term, because so much was done during that time.

This is a very relevant read, for it dispels myths that the Founding Fathers were infallible geniuses who were in perfect agreements over everything, and gives a historical context to events and schisms still playing out in our nation today. Further, given these trying times, it opens a window at a time when political discourse was even lower than it is now, with congressmen coming to physical blows outside of congress and the Vice President shooting and killing a rival in a duel. We as a nation have fallen, but we are not at rock bottom.

By the time I got about 50 pages towards the end I was reluctant to continue because I did not want it to come, even though history does not change by the action of reading about it. For all intents and purposes, I was engrossed in Hamilton's story. Highly recommend.



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