Book Review: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow


When I first received Alexander Hamilton as a gift, I’ll have to admit I knew very little about the man. I knew he was the first treasury secretary, died in a duel and had recently been the centerpiece of a hip-hop musical on Broadway.

Upon delving into Ron Chernow’s biography I learned that this humble looking man who now resides on the back of our $10 bills was no man but a titan.

Chernow effortlessly cruises through Hamilton’s life as an orphan from illegitimate birth on a small Caribbean island to his time as leader of the Federalist Party. Hamilton’s service during the Revolutionary War was a point of interest for me as I had always thought the Founding Fathers distanced themselves from the fighting; Not Hamilton.

Hamilton was, by almost all accounts, a genius who selflessly gave all of his intellect to help make America what it is today. He co-wrote the Federalist papers which publicly defended the need for our Constitution, founded the Bank of New York and essentially invented America’s current financial system as Secretary of Treasury.

Chernow is diligent not to let Hamilton be sanctified as he devotes chapters to his short-comings. The Maria Taylor incident imparticular, America’s first political sex scandal, was all Hamilton’s doing. Also his firey feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Burr.

As intimidating it may look of a read, once you get started on this biography you’ll have trouble putting it down. Reading about this legend was a fantastic, educational experience.

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