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A 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
who became Hamilton’s nemesis. It was almost certainly from Knox’s lips that Alexander Hamilton ﬁrst heard the name of Aaron Burr. Ordained by Burr in 1755, Knox decided to propagate the gospel and was sent to Saba in the Dutch West Indies. This tiny island near Nevis measured ﬁve square miles, had no beaches, and was solitary enough to try the fortitude of the most determined missionary. Rough seas girded Saba’s rocky shores, making it hazardous for ships to land there. As the sole clergyman,
unlikely for a new student, but he may well have rushed into print. As a former clerk acquainted with import duties, contraband goods, and European trade policies, Hamilton was handed a tailor-made issue that wasn’t entirely new to him: the West Indian islands had felt the distant repercussions of the Stamp Act protests and other thwarted attempts by Britain to tax the colonists. “The ﬁrst political piece which [Hamilton] wrote,” recalled Troup, “was on the destruction of the tea at Boston in
undiscovered articles give a more detailed glimpse of his life in the early days of the rebellion and ﬁll major gaps in the sketchy documentary record of Hamilton’s early career. In a report on Rivington, the anonymous correspondent wrote: The contents of all last week’s New-York Gazetteer occasioned Mr. Rivington, the printer, to be surprised and surrounded on the 23rd of November by 75 of the Connecticut Light horse, with ﬁrelocks and ﬁxed bayonets, who burst The Pen and the Sword 69 into
“There is no virtue [in] America. That commerce which preside[d over] the birth and education of these states has [ﬁtted] their inhabitants for the chain and . . . the only condition they sincerely desire is that it may be a golden one.”76 What a dark, weary view for a twenty-four-year-old ﬁghting for glorious ideals. It was to be a recurring paradox of Hamilton’s career that he grew enraged when accused of being an outsider and then sounded, in response, very much like the outsider evoked by his
area was “one general scene of ruin and desolation.”22 Schuyler himself was especially vulnerable. He had overseen a spy network with such efﬁciency that the British were plotting to kidnap him at home, as he learned that spring, and he made special arrangements to have an Albany guard hasten to his aid in case of emergency. On August 7, about twenty Tories and Indians barged into the Schuyler mansion, overpowered the sleeping guards, seized weapons in the cellar, and surrounded the house.