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Alexander Hamilton
RON CHERNOW

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
711 reviews (2004) (832p)
National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography Finalist
New York TimesĀ® Best Nonfiction Books
Amazon DECADE Editor Biography Top 10
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction Finalist
Amazon DECADE Customer Biography Top 10
Amazon 2004 Customer Top 50
Amazon 2004 Editor Top 50

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Book Description
Ron Chernow, the renowned author of Titan whom the New York Times has called "as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we've seen in decades," vividly re-creates the whole sweep of Alexander Hamilton's turbulent life—his exotic, brutal upbringing; his titanic feuds with celebrated rivals; his pivotal role in defining the shape of the federal government and the American economy; his shocking illicit romances; his enlightened abolitionism; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804. Drawing upon extensive, unparalleled research— including nearly fifty previously undiscovered essays highlighting Hamilton's fiery journalism as well as his revealing missives to colleagues and friends—this biography of the extraordinarily gifted founding father who galvanized, inspired, and scandalized the newborn nation is the work by which all others will be measured.


Amazon.com Review
Building on biographies by Richard Brookhiser and Willard Sterne Randall, Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton provides what may be the most comprehensive modern examination of the often overlooked Founding Father. From the start, Chernow argues that Hamilton's premature death at age 49 left his record to be reinterpreted and even re-written by his more long-lived enemies, among them: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe. Hamilton's achievements as first Secretary of the Treasury, co-author of The Federalist Papers, and member of the Constitutional Convention were clouded after his death by strident claims that he was an arrogant, self-serving monarchist. Chernow delves into the almost 22,000 pages of letters, manuscripts, and articles that make up Hamilton's legacy to reveal a man with a sophisticated intellect, a romantic spirit, and a late-blooming religiosity.

One fault of the book, is that Chernow is so convinced of Hamilton's excellence that his narrative sometimes becomes hagiographic. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Chernow's account of the infamous duel between Hamilton and Aaron Burr in 1804. He describes Hamilton's final hours as pious, while Burr, Jefferson, and Adams achieve an almost cartoonish villainy at the news of Hamilton's passing.

A defender of the union against New England secession and an opponent of slavery, Hamilton has a special appeal to modern sensibilities. Chernow argues that in contrast to Jefferson and Washington's now outmoded agrarian idealism, Hamilton was "the prophet of the capitalist revolution" and the true forebear of modern America. In his Prologue, he writes: "In all probability, Alexander Hamilton is the foremost figure in American history who never attained the presidency, yet he probably had a much deeper and more lasting impact than many who did." With Alexander Hamilton, this impact can now be more widely appreciated. --Patrick O'Kelley


Other Award Winning Books by Ron Chernow
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
194 reviews (2010) (904p) (PP Bio) (ALA Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow
54 reviews (1998) (768p) (NYTimes Non) (ALA Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page
The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family by Ron Chernow
18 reviews (1993) (880p) (ALA Non)
Read Reviews | Visit this book's Amazon.com page

Ron Chernow Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 6  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 4  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 1 Washington: A Life ·  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 1 Washington: A Life ·  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 1 Alexander Hamilton ·  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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Pulitzer Prize | National Book Critics Circle Award | National Book Award | PEN/Faulkner Award | Man Booker Prize | Contact