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Alexander Hamilton

av Ron Chernow

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
5,5741211,330 (4.33)192
Publisher's description: In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner 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.… (mer)
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I have not had the opportunity to see the play Hamilton (since moving to Montana I don’t get to see as many plays as when I lived in New Jersey.) When it streamed I relished the chance to enjoy the sensation that everyone was exclaiming over. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and have been listening to the Hamilton soundtrack ad nauseum. If you read my reviews you know I don’t cover much in the way of American history but have been wanting read more. I knew that the play didn’t hie to history so I figured I’d go to the source.

Let me first note that this book reads very easy; it’s like reading fiction which if you ask me is the most amazing thing you can write about a non fiction book. Especially one as weighty (in both senses of the word) as this. In noting that weight I will grant that this book is not going to be for everyone. I happen to love doorstopper books; I read very quickly so I enjoy a book that takes me more than a day to read. Also, history.

Not everyone goes gaga for the past but 98% of my reading takes place in times long ago so it’s a comfort zone. But I will say if you are looking for an in depth read about one of our Founding Fathers this is a good place to start. It is very – and I do mean very – pro Hamilton. Mr. Chernow loves his protagonist oftentimes to the point of ignoring his lessor angels. I do not doubt that Mr. Hamilton was an amazing man and astoundingly intelligent but he was not perfect. He was a bit obsessed with his place in society and I suspect probably a titch obnoxious.

All that being written I was engrossed in the book. I have noted many a time that I have not done much reading either fiction or non in the American history arena. I have decided to try and correct that this year. Hamilton is the lengthiest book on my reading list and the most educational. It has been a while since I’ve been in a classroom. But don’t take that to mean that reading this book is like reading a textbook because it’s not. Mr. Chernow really does bring the period and the people who inhabit it alive. I was never bored and I find that I want to find books on the other players in the time period.

Mr. Chernow obviously loves his Hamilton. You get that sense from the start and I am left wondering if this has left something unwritten. Hamilton was a brilliant man – of that there is no doubt – but does Mr. Chernow do him justice by not fully exploring his darker aspects? He was a man of his time and those times were very, very different than those in which we live now. He may not have liked slavery but as the current headlines attest, Mr. Hamilton was a participant in it. Does that change his impact on our history? I don’t know. How can we look at him through today’s lens?

All in all this was a very good read and I am very glad I spent the time with this Founding Father. While learning about him I also brushed up on some American history. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Nov 12, 2020 |
Comprehensive history of an overlooked Founding Father, overlooked because he never became President I think. This biography follows him from his childhood as a bastard and orphan in the West Indies to New York, where he became Washington's right hand man both in the army during the Revolution and again as Treasury Secretary. In Chernow's telling, Hamilton is a truly American story, with no advantages of family or connections of any kind, who rose to the top of the early American polity solely by his tremendous intellect and powerful personality. Of course he was also a highly controversial figure, hated by the Jeffersonians who opposed his banking system and his support of tight relations with England after the Revolution.

The details of the politics of the time are fascinating and not well remembered (at least by me). The Jeffersonians were totally taken in by the French Revolution, and very slow to see the Reign of Terror for what it was, while Hamilton and the Federalists were more clear eyed.

Jefferson himself comes off very poorly, as a political schemer who outmaneuvers the less circumspect Hamilton as soon as Washington leaves the scene.

And of course there are the two major tabloid-level details of Hamilton's life: the first American sex scandal, as he is caught being unfaithful to his wife and paying blackmail money to hush it up, and of course his death in a duel at the hands of the sitting vice president, Aaron Burr.

This book apparently inspired the Lin Manuel Miranda play, and it is an inspiring life story. I wish this book, like the writings of David McCullough and other popular historians, were a little more concise- it can be a slog at times. Chernow wrote a biography or Ulysses S Grant that I liked better, though it was also long. ( )
  DanTarlin | Oct 14, 2020 |
Those taking an American newspaper will be familiar with the dull, detail-focused reporting style that contrasts with the excitable, frothy news media inflicted on us in Britain. Chernow adopts that worthy, evidence-based style here, so the 700+ pages can have a wearying effect. But the story is strong enough, as we all now know (thanks to Lin Manuel Miranda’s energetic but no less worthy musical), the life and times of founding father Alexander Hamilton. Impressive too that so much of those times is discoverable in the rich corpus of letters, pamphlets, bills, newspapers, lawsuits and more that chronicle the events and thoughts of this lively period. History had its eyes on them. ( )
  eglinton | Oct 2, 2020 |
Politicians are weird man. ( )
  mbeaty91 | Sep 9, 2020 |
I officially have a fangirl crush on Hamilton. You know you've got it when your charisma lasts 200 years! In other news, I will die, just die, if I can't get myself to Broadway sooner rather than later. Die!

Quotable:

The period of John Adams's presidency declined into a time of political savagery with few parallels in American history, a season of paranoia in which the two parties surrendered all trust in each other . . . "Party animosities have raised a wall of separation between those who differ in political sentiments," Jefferson wrote sadly to Angelica Church.

Fisher Ames observed of Hamilton that the common people don't want leaders "whom they see elevated by nature and education so far above their heads."
( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
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In this favorable, hefty biography of Alexander Hamilton, Chernow (The Warburgs; The House of Morgan) makes the case for him as one of the most important Founding Fathers, arguing that America is heir to the Hamiltonian vision of the modern economic state. His sweeping narrative chronicles the complicated and often contradictory life of Hamilton, from his obscure birth on Nevis Island to his meteoric rise as confidant to Washington, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, and America's first Treasury secretary, to his bizarre death at the hands of Aaron Burr. A running theme is the contradictions exhibited during his life: a member of the Constitutional Convention, Hamilton nevertheless felt that the Constitution was seriously flawed and was fearful of rule by the people. A devoted father and husband, he had two known affairs. Lastly, he was philosophically and morally opposed to dueling, and yet that's how he met his end. Although quite sympathetic to Hamilton, Chernow attempts to present both sides of his many controversies, including Hamilton's momentous philosophical battles with Jefferson. Chernow relies heavily on primary sources and previously unused volumes of Hamilton's writings. A first-rate life and excellent addition to the ongoing debate about Hamilton's importance in the shaping of America.
tillagd av kthomp25 | ändraLibrary Journal
 

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Ron Chernowprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Brick, ScottBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Wilson, GabrieleOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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In the early 1850s, few pedestrians strolling past the house on H Street in Washington, near the White House, realized that the ancient widow seated by the window, knitting and arranging, was the last surviving link to the glory days of the republic.
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Publisher's description: In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, National Book Award winner 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.

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