Alexander Hamilton Hardcover – Deckle Edge 26 Apr 2004
Product Description 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 22000 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 From Booklist *Starred Review* Washington is revered as the "father of his country" and the "indispensable man." Jefferson is the "apostle of liberty" the author of our most sacred national document and his idealism though flawed continues to inspire us. And Alexander Hamilton? He inspires admiration for his financial acumen and respect for his drive to rise above the genteel poverty of his youth. Yet he seldom is accorded the affection reserved for some of our national icons. But as Chernow's comprehensive and superbly written biography makes clear Hamilton was at least as influential as any of our Founding Fathers in shaping our national institutions and political culture. He was the driving force behind the calling of the Constitutional Convention and he was instrumental in overcoming opposition to ratification. In Washington's cabinet he consistently promoted a national perspective while placing our economy on a sound financial footing. Chernow who has previously written biographies of J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller acknowledges Hamilton's arrogance his bouts of self-pity and his penchant for cynical manipulation. But this self-made man was capable of great compassion and was consistently outraged by the institution of slavery. Although his understanding of human limitations made him suspicious of unrestrained democracy his devotion to individual liberty did not falter. Jay Freeman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved See all Product Description
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