With masterful storytelling skills, Chernow presents the whole sweep of Hamilton's turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, and Monroe; his illicit romances; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.
Alexander Hamilton was one of the seminal figures in our history. His richly dramatic saga, rendered in Chernow's vivid prose, is nothing less than a riveting account of America's founding, from the Revolutionary War to the rise of the first federal government.
©2004 Ron Chernow; (P)2004 Penguin Audio
"Comprehensive and superbly written." (Booklist)
"This is a fine work that captures Hamilton's life with judiciousness and verve." (Publishers Weekly)
"Literate and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Scott Brick delivers a highly professional, straightforward narration that holds one's interest throughout. Straight narrative can become boring, and Brick is never that. Nor does he become lazy in the course of 36 hours. His voice and evident interest are fresh throughout." (AudioFile)
This is truly a must read for those who have enjoyed other books about the early period of American history (1776, John Adams, etc.) With all of the deference paid to the likes of Washington, Adams, Franklin, and Jefferson, Chernow's portrayal of Hamilton as the chief architect of the American government helps to shed additional light on the events of the period. Chernow effectively casts Hamilton as a boy-genius who single-handedly polarizes the infant political climate of the United States, but also builds the framework for America's future economic dominance. The book is certainly pro-Hamilton, but it is a fair balance to the pro-Adams and pro-Jefferson literature that portrays Hamilton to be the villain of the times. A truly informative and provocative read.
This is an extraordinary book on revolutionary times about the most obscure of the founding fathers. Extremely well told, it reveals many of the complexities of early American history that were left out of books like "His Excellency", "John Adams", "Founding brothers". Hamilton comes out as a marvellously complex character and a true genius. The personal stories are as lively as any told - the characters are fascinating, life-like and complex, the political landscape more vivid than in any other history of that time. The expositions on the Federalists Papers, the founding of the Treasury, slavery and States Rights are illustrated with vivid accounts of warring rivals and tales of betrayal that are every bit as intense as the scenes surrounding the Terry Schiavo case, but less terrifying because at least those debates are behind us, even though it sometimes took a duel to the death. All so relevant to many of today's central political issues.
After listening to <i>1776</i> and <i>Adams vs. Jefferson</i> it was apparent how much influence Alexander Hamilton had on the beginnings of our country, but little seems to be discussed about it. After hearing this book, I think it's fair to say that - like many people - he was his own worst enemy. Had he kept himself in check a bit more, I'm almost certain he would have become President himself. As it is, though, Hamilton is a tragic figure: full of talent at a young age, able to influence some of the great leaders of our country such as Washington, but finally allowing stubborn pride to be his undoing in a duel. There is much to be learned from his life about how our country developed, and how he fell from grace.
Ron Chernow has a masterpiece in this book -- easily on the level of "John Adams", "The First American", "Theodore Rex" and "His Excellency". Also a great primer on the foundations of our modern banking system while capturing the heart of the (surprisingly) conflicted principles that our nation is founded upon. Academic history books sometimes lead us to believe that the founding fathers were strongly united in their views and that the development of the nation was internally unified while facing external pressures. This book helps one to understand the philosophical divisions that existed and the angst and politicking that occurred in founding the United States. Great book!
Retired Marine combat officer now enjoying life in Southwestern Wisconsin. With my wife, Crystal, we own and operate a portrait studio, True Lives Studio, in Bloomington, WI
If you are serious about listening to this book do not buy the abridged version. Uneven gaps and movements to highlights without history or background.
The narration is good, even captivating, but getting the abridged version is like history by Disney....skip it...
I love books!
I really enjoyed listening to this book, AH had an extraordinary life that came to a tragic, senseless end. From the time he was 21 through Washington's presidency he was at the center of power in the forming of our country. He played a key role. One thing that hit me in this book is how much of what happened in politics then is still happening now, to a certain degree it seems nothing has changed. Biographies aren't the most exciting listens but this was probably as good as it gets. I can't imagine what's in the 30 hour version, I felt like I got a good feel for AH's life and times in this version.
When it came out, everyone was talking about this book and now I know why. Wow. Chernow covers his subject with a masterful comprehension and depth that gives the listener a very interesting window into the world of the Founders, always with Hamilton at the center. The book is fascinating (and well read). From Hamilton's unusual boyhood in the carribean to his stellar rise during the revolution, to his pivotol role in the development of the fundamental features of our government structure, it more than held my interest. Hamilton is an extraordinary character -- a unique genius -- and Chernow resurrects him in all his glory, and not without attention to his flaws. I learned more about our history from this book than from any other book I have read. Most interesting is Hamilton's preescience. So many of his ideas anticipated current events. Also, Chernow clearly grew to love and feel protective of his subject who has been so neglected in history until now. I admit that around hour 29, I started to feel shades of "The Power Broker" -- a pattern of Hamiltonian behavior repeated over and over. But I highly, highly, recommend.
This is a very enjoyable history of the life of one of our founding fathers. The author does a nice job of showing the demeanor and personality of Alexander Hamilton, and the narration is very good also.
A superb, accessible account of the life of our most complex founding father r(really, only a very young man). Relevant to many of today's debates about the nature of our government and the many stresses with which it has to cope. Written almost like a novel but with authenticity and balance. Any lover of Jefferson or Adams must also read this book.
I taught political science full-time at a university for five years and still learned so much about the Founding and formative years of the Republic from this volume. The story of Hamilton's life is so artfully and powerfully recounted that I felt a double sense of loss at the book's conclusion.
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