Alexander Hamilton seemed a strange and sort of periphery figure in so many stories surrounding the revolution. After listening to McCullough's John Adams and hearing Hamilton constantly mentioned as a behind the scenes foil, or as the brains behind so many plots, I wondered why I didn't know anything about him. I mean, I knew he died in a duel with Aaron Burr, but that's about all.
After 37 plus hours of just the most interesting life imaginable I realized only 5 days had passed. This guy really didn't leave the tri-state area after he came to New York when he was 16 and he still managed to be in the center of nearly every major moment in American History from 1776 to 1800. He became a Captain at 19 and a Lieutenant Colonel by 21, he was a key figure in convincing the New York public to go to war while he was still in college. Without him, there is a very good chance the constitution wouldn't have been ratified and, without his financial system, our debt would've probably crushed our little country before it even got going. I thought George Washington was the first President, turns out Hamilton pretty much ran things. Then, the guy dies in a duel with the Vice President! This was 37 hours well spent, I'll have to come back to this next year when my heart stops beating so damn fast.
To be honest, I have never had much respect for Alexander Hamilton. I sympathize with the anti-federalist Jefferson camp. I read this book to educate my ignorant bias. I did. I am still an anti-federalist but I have new respect for Hamilton. He is the true example of the american dream. He came from humble beginnings and worked his butt off.
This book is 36 hours long and worth every minute. Hamilton's fascinating life intersected with nearly everything in early American history, making this biography an excellent way of understanding that time period. He is portrayed admiringly, but his faults are acknowledged. And the book is filled with interesting events and people, not minute details. And the book is very much targeted at the modern, general reader; there are no "stuffy historian" pretenses. I recommend this title more highly than any other history book I've read or listened to.
I knew very little of Alexander Hamilton save for his untimely death. Perhaps my lack of knowledge was the main reason for choosing this title, along with other excellent reviews. I was rewarded with a splendid listen throughout the entire book. The narration is superb, with just the right inflections, which accurately conveys the author's fantastic phrasing and detailed knowledge. Chernow brought the early Republic to life for me and you won't go wrong if this biography captures your attention.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
I've read biographies of all of the most important founders of our republic including an earlier Hamilton biography. This book is the best. Having Scott Brick narrate it adds to the worthiness of this Hamilton biography.
Hamilton was a poor immigrant in his teens when he arrived in New York. He was born out of wedlock, abandoned by his father, watched his mother die while in his very early teens. He became well educated including becoming a lawyer. He was a colonel at age 20 and aide to General Washington during much of the war of American independence. He was short and slight of build, but his intellect was staggering in capability and diversity of knowledge. He learned each new task quickly and thoroughly. He did not write the US Constitution although he was key in its drafting and he deserves more credit than any other person for get it ratified by the states. His language, writing, and verbal communicating skills were at least as great as any other person who ever lived. He is personally responsible for our banking and monetary system. Among the founders there are likely 10 men who played the most important roles in the foundation; in my view Hamilton even more than Washington was the person played the most important role. He had the vision, the capabilities and the drive, and the honor, to do the many varied tasks that were critical.
Hamilton suffered from health issues that did little to slow him down. He was a proud man who did not take criticism well. He had a hot temper and often was intemperate in criticizing others, he was prone to depression, and when he made mistakes they were whoppers. Author Ron Chernow discusses three such huge errors. He started an affair with Mrs. Reynolds when his wife was pregnant with their fifth child and allowed himself to be blackmailed by her husband while a was our first Treasury Secretary. At age 49 in 1804 he had a duel with US VP Arron Burr that cost him his life and cost the US its leading intellectual and most capable leader and politician.
Hamilton left a huge amount of notes, letters, and other writings behind. His wife, Elizabeth (Liza) Schyler Hamilton, was the mother of their 8 children (their oldest child Philip died in a duel at age 19 two years before Hamilton's death). Liza outlived her husband by 50 years. She spent much of that time assuring that her husband's legacy did not die.
Alexander Hamilton is an excellent audiobook. At 36 hours it is rather long, but it was never boring.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I had no idea how incredible Hamilton's life was. This story has pretty much everything: illegitimate birth, extramarital affairs, bitter career rivalries, brilliant political discourses, passionate pursuit of causes, military adventures. I don't necessarily support everything Hamilton worked for, but he argued persuasively for his point of view. In an era where opinions and sound bites seem to suffice for rational debate for so many people, you have to appreciate someone who worked out detailed rational supporting arguments on paper for his ideas. I'm referring primarily to the Federalist Papers, but there was a good deal more than that. The Founding Fathers aren't remembered as being especially savvy, but Hamilton rose to the challenge and was able to conceive a financial system that pretty much rescued the fledgling republic from disaster. Unmentioned in my school history days is that Hamilton was at Washington's side as his aide-de-camp all through the Revolutionary War. This country owes so much to Hamilton and it's a shame that all most people remember is that stupid duel with Aaron Burr.
Excellently written, articulate, objective,thorough to a fault; this vast work brings life to a truly remarkable man and an extraordinary period of time. Scott Brick's narration is perfect for the piece.
Alexander Hamilton is an incredible book. I listened to this book right after listening to the John Adams Biography and my thoughts about Hamilton were quickly reversed. My respect for Hamilton is enormous. I never thought that one man could do so many things for the benefit of our country even at times acting against the popular opinion of the times. Ron Chernow did a masterful job in writing this biography. I would highly recommend this book to all who want to learn who Hamilton really was, the good and the bad. This book will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
I felt this book was so well written and beautifully read, that it was important for me to share my thoughts, publicly. It truly moved me. My review may not be eloquent, but, Ron Chernow writes a wonderful book. Scott Brick narrates with sensitivity. It maps out A.H.'s life as a young boy in the West Indies to his final days in New York City. After listening to the book, I feel I know how life must have been for A.H.. Additionally, the lives of those he touched and those that influenced him. Alexander Hamilton had such an amazing life of 49 years. A.H. was such an important founding father of modern day America. Bravo!
This is a lengthy "read" but very worth the amazing American history that it spands. AH was a complex man and the writer certainly doesn't attempt to cover his wrong-headed actions. Thomas Jefferson certainly holds a different place in my mind as one of the founding fathers. His slave owning was well know but his arrogance about that practice and his slander of AH as a royalist were a revelation to me. It is so well written and so well read that I couldn't wait to here the next chapter.
I think that Scott Brick has an Audible fan club. All of his books are read with easy clarity.