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Hamilton: An American Biography

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The award-winning, smash Broadway hit, Hamilton: An American Musical, continues to captivate sold-out audiences and has sparked unprecedented interest in its historical protagonist. In Hamilton: An American Biography, Tony Williams provides readers with a concise biography that traces the events and values that enabled Hamilton to rise from his youth as a dispossessed orph The award-winning, smash Broadway hit, Hamilton: An American Musical, continues to captivate sold-out audiences and has sparked unprecedented interest in its historical protagonist. In Hamilton: An American Biography, Tony Williams provides readers with a concise biography that traces the events and values that enabled Hamilton to rise from his youth as a dispossessed orphan to Revolutionary War hero and Founding Father, a life uniquely shaped by America and who, in turn, contributed to the creation of the American regime of liberty and self-government. He was one of key leaders in the American Revolution, a chief architect of America's constitutional order of self-government, and the key figure in Washington's administration creating the institutions that governed America. Williams expertly weaves together biography with historical events to place Hamilton as one of the most important founding fathers. For readers just discovering Hamilton for the first time or those with an insatiable appetite for books on the Founders and the American Founding, Hamilton: An American Biography will shed new light on this American icon now experiencing a remarkable second act.


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The award-winning, smash Broadway hit, Hamilton: An American Musical, continues to captivate sold-out audiences and has sparked unprecedented interest in its historical protagonist. In Hamilton: An American Biography, Tony Williams provides readers with a concise biography that traces the events and values that enabled Hamilton to rise from his youth as a dispossessed orph The award-winning, smash Broadway hit, Hamilton: An American Musical, continues to captivate sold-out audiences and has sparked unprecedented interest in its historical protagonist. In Hamilton: An American Biography, Tony Williams provides readers with a concise biography that traces the events and values that enabled Hamilton to rise from his youth as a dispossessed orphan to Revolutionary War hero and Founding Father, a life uniquely shaped by America and who, in turn, contributed to the creation of the American regime of liberty and self-government. He was one of key leaders in the American Revolution, a chief architect of America's constitutional order of self-government, and the key figure in Washington's administration creating the institutions that governed America. Williams expertly weaves together biography with historical events to place Hamilton as one of the most important founding fathers. For readers just discovering Hamilton for the first time or those with an insatiable appetite for books on the Founders and the American Founding, Hamilton: An American Biography will shed new light on this American icon now experiencing a remarkable second act.

30 review for Hamilton: An American Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    This just reminded me of why I hated HIStory as a girl. Bloviating men.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ben House

    Often the renewed and on-going interest in our Founding Fathers is credited to the books by David McCullough and Joseph Ellis. Certainly, McCullough’s John Adams took an overlooked Founder and President and gave him much credit that was long due him. Likewise, Ellis’ books, such as Founding Brothers, His Excellency George Washington, American Quartet, and others have created a cottage industry for Ellis and have enlightened many Americans about their heritage. These works, and I would add others Often the renewed and on-going interest in our Founding Fathers is credited to the books by David McCullough and Joseph Ellis. Certainly, McCullough’s John Adams took an overlooked Founder and President and gave him much credit that was long due him. Likewise, Ellis’ books, such as Founding Brothers, His Excellency George Washington, American Quartet, and others have created a cottage industry for Ellis and have enlightened many Americans about their heritage. These works, and I would add others such as the books by Thomas Fleming and David Hackett Fischer, have filled in huge gaps of knowledge and have created waves of appreciation (and maybe patriotism as well) for readers. The Founding Fathers (I use that term for convenience and not for offense) often give us great solace as we contemplate current leadership. Thus, John Adams stood as a foil to the slimy actions of Pres. Bill Clinton. Others would have found the Adams father and son presidencies vastly preferable to the Bush father and son presidencies. For people on different sides of political perspectives, Presidents Obama and Trump could or can only be endured by remembering their superior predecessors. Even a beloved President like Ronald Reagan seemed far inferior in intellect and vision than the first three or four occupants of the office. For me, the interest in reading on those early national leaders did not begin with McCullough and Ellis or any of the other biographers. In 1976, the year of our Bicentennial celebration, I read James Thomas Flexner’s four volume biography of George Washington. I also read other books along the way that enlightened my understanding and tilted my views on the American origins. Quite often, I was reading books by authors who were more theologically centered writers than historians. Thomas Jefferson, being a Deist and having other democratizing notions, did not fair well in their books, nor in my mind. Later, as I read more southern-oriented writers, I found Jefferson more acceptable As a teacher, I have always enjoyed making the contrast between Washington’s two premier cabinet members–Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. On the one hand, I continue to be amazed at Washington’s brilliant original cabinet. Jefferson and Hamilton were perhaps the most brilliant two cabinet members to ever occupy positions at the same time. It is refreshing to think that Washington was able to hear or read both of these men expressing views on the issues of the day. Always the excellent, but often quiet, leader above the fray, he would weigh the arguments before making a decision. This method of ruling not only sounds great, but it is. Unfortunately, much of history is beautiful at a distance, but up close reveals some rather ugly brush marks. That is never more the case than in the Washington cabinet. Jefferson and Hamilton were not airy political philosophers, smoking pipes, and expressing different options. They were real men, with real and often vicious passions, who played political hardball. Chuck Colson, later a great Christian leader, was reputed to have said that he would have run over his grandmother for Richard Nixon. Politics in the early years of our republic was not that tame and civil. Meaning in short, don’t mess with Thomas Jefferson. He and others in his camp could have bested many today who today get noticed for dirty politics, fake news, collusion, etc. All of this leads us back to this new biography of Alexander Hamilton. Thankfully, Ron Cherow’s massive biography (which I am embarrassed to admit that I have not read) and Hamilton–the Musical (which I have not and likely will not see) have drawn attention to the man who otherwise is restricted to our ten dollar bills and connections to the fateful duel. At the same time that he is getting some favorable press and attention from the public, I have repeatedly bumped into conservative people who blame Hamilton for ever evil in our country from the founding years to the present. Big government–blame Hamilton. Failed liberal (Wilsonian, New Deal, Great Society, Obama-era) policies–blame Hamilton. Debts, paper money, the Federal Reserve–blame Hamilton. Trampling on the Constitution–blame Hamilton. Funny though that many who blame him don’t take the next logical step. That is, why not blame the greatest and most influential Hamiltonian of all time? Meaning, George Washington. Hamilton was flawed, quirky, inconsistent, stubborn, occasionally reckless, at least once terribly immoral, and often mistaken. Translate that into this: Hamilton was a human. As Hamlet said of his father,“He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” It is hard to fathom a person who was able to climb out of difficult circumstances to reach such heights as Hamilton did. Illegitimate (which his detractors continually reminded everyone of), orphaned early in life, he was a self-educated, highly successful warehouse operator while still in his teens. Bless the ones who saw his talent and sent him to the colonies. Incredibly brave on the battlefield, he was also a great administrator and organizer on the staff while in the Revolutionary War. Not as diversely gifted as Jefferson, he was, nevertheless, a first class intellect. His brain power and unrelenting drive enabled him to whip out defenses, commentaries, and explanations of political issues in short order. He handily contributed the larger portion of the essays that comprise The Federalist Papers, which is still regarded as a major contribution to Constitutional interpretation and to politicla philosophy. When needed, he wrote in-depth accounts on financing the government and securing America’s place among the nations. Later, he largely crafted George Washington’s “Farewell Address” without calling attention to himself. If Washington was “first in war” as Lighthorse Harry Lee said of him, then Hamilton was first in finance. Unlike secretaries of the treasury who today are largely picked from successful business corporations, Hamilton learned economics and politics on the run. He had to fight against a coalition that included such heavyweights as Jefferson and Hamilton’s former ally James Madison. For a long time thereafter, critics looked into Hamilton’s governmental record in search of a skeleton in the closet. President Jefferson even directed Treasury Secretary Gallatin to examine Hamilton’s records, but Gallatin found a spotless slate. Much more could be said about Hamilton here, but Williams’ book Hamilton says it all and says it in 166 pages of text. The only flaw in this book is the endling because Hamilton died too soon and too uselessly in a duel. On his deathbed he reaffirmed his faith in Christ and denounced dueling. If only he had avoided that honor-warped practice before facing off with Aaron Burr. Great book. Great man. Good to read and remember and rekindle our hopes for men like Alexander Hamilton in our day.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cotton Field

    This was a brief, though informative, read. That was Williams stated goal and to that end he accomplished putting together a book that fulfilled his stated purpose. He initiated this work by declaring an boycott on all references and citations. The strategy is effective for delivering a quickening read, buy the intellectual quality suffers. Hamilton's life was blessed with numberless triumphs, but also far fewer, but stinging tragedy. He was tactical and calculating in his dealings with people. This was a brief, though informative, read. That was Williams stated goal and to that end he accomplished putting together a book that fulfilled his stated purpose. He initiated this work by declaring an boycott on all references and citations. The strategy is effective for delivering a quickening read, buy the intellectual quality suffers. Hamilton's life was blessed with numberless triumphs, but also far fewer, but stinging tragedy. He was tactical and calculating in his dealings with people. He even married with an obvious eye toward material gain and status. Ultimately, he left an amazing legacy of "larger than life" accomplishments in an age among contemporaries with whom such an individual as Hamilton would truly have to shine to show.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Dunn

    Having not seen the musical "Hamilton," I started reading Tony Williams' book with a clean slate so to speak. Oh sure, I knew Alexander Hamilton was one of this country's Founding Fathers who was secretary of the Treasury and ultimately died in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. Nevertheless, Williams gets high fives from me for providing a broad historical overview of the West Indies immigrant in a highly readable, relatively condensed manner. I didn't know that Hamilton was so close to Geor Having not seen the musical "Hamilton," I started reading Tony Williams' book with a clean slate so to speak. Oh sure, I knew Alexander Hamilton was one of this country's Founding Fathers who was secretary of the Treasury and ultimately died in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. Nevertheless, Williams gets high fives from me for providing a broad historical overview of the West Indies immigrant in a highly readable, relatively condensed manner. I didn't know that Hamilton was so close to George Washington during the Revolutionary War; indeed, Hamilton was a very valuable aide to the general. When Washington was elected America's first president, it's not surprising he tapped Hamilton to serve in the cabinet as the architect of the new nation's financial system. Modeled after the Bank of England, the new nation's national bank was "a uniquely American creation," Williams writes. The author's insight into the sharp political differences between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson are fascinating. Jefferson wondered whether Hamilton's policies would lead to unlimited government or monarchy, according to Williams. Jefferson even led a behind-the-scenes campaign to destroy Hamilton politically and personally, Williams says. In May 1792, Jefferson went even further, alleging that Hamilton was a monarchist intent on overthrowing the republic. After writing much of Washington's Farewell Address upon leaving office, Hamilton set his sights on making sure Jefferson didn't become president in 1796, the author says. While the book gives a mostly favorable view of Hamilton, Williams isn't afraid to include some less than flattering moments in Hamilton's life. For instance, in the summer of 1791 Hamilton became involved in an affair with a 23-year-old woman that eventually led to blackmail. In December 1791 and January 1792, Hamilton rounded up $1,000 to pay off the woman's husband, according to Williams. The affair became public months later when the woman's husband and the ex-clerk of the House speaker were imprisoned for defrauding the Treasury Department. After the triste was exposed, Hamilton described the affair in detail in writing, or as Williams calls it, "a self-destructive expose." Even though the 1790s were more than 200 years ago, Williams' book is contemporary in a sense. We're still arguing over what the Constitution means or doesn't mean. Immigration is still a hot topic. Politicians still verbally bash their rivals just as Hamilton and Jefferson did. It's sobering to conclude that America's founding wasn't smooth or a sure thing by any means. But Hamilton and other Federalists believed that the loosely organized collection of states under the Articles of Confederation wouldn't stand the test of time and invited attacks by such powers as England, France and Spain. The rest is history.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Who tells your story? Published in 2018, this short biography was written according to author Tony Williams to give fans of the smash hit play Hamilton a shorter alternative to the large scholarly bio by Ron Chernow that provided the historical and biographical material for the play. As such it is much shorter, barely 160 pages, based on secondary sources, and lacks footnoting. While these attributes would disqualify the book for academic reading, it could still serve as a viable po Review title: Who tells your story? Published in 2018, this short biography was written according to author Tony Williams to give fans of the smash hit play Hamilton a shorter alternative to the large scholarly bio by Ron Chernow that provided the historical and biographical material for the play. As such it is much shorter, barely 160 pages, based on secondary sources, and lacks footnoting. While these attributes would disqualify the book for academic reading, it could still serve as a viable popular introduction to the subject if it were better written. Instead I found it so broadly written, assuming no background knowledge of the Revolution and the founding years of the United States under the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution, that the author is never able to successfully or succinctly assess Hamilton's place in the story. And the quality of the writing never rises above high school textbook level, with typos, ungrammatical sentences, and obvious signs of poor editing. I can't recommend this Hamilton. The play, of course, is in 2020 perhaps even a bigger hit than it was when introduced on Broadway due to the availability of the filmed stage version on the Disney+ streaming service just at the time when Americans quarantined at home by the Covid-19 virus were in search of quality content. The music is great, the cast excellent, the drama compelling, and the history and politics compressed but accurate. Director, writer, and lead actor Lin-Manuel Miranda takes a few small liberties to fit such a bold project into a stage musical, but he gets the big picture stuff right for those who want to watch the play to understand the interplay between Jefferson and Madison on the side of the Republicans in favor of a weaker central government focused on an agrarian America, and Washington and Hamilton attempting to forge a viable national government with the strength to survive economically and diplomatically to serve as a counterweight to old-world Europe. And through the drama and those fabulously singable songs we learn enough about Hamilton's checkered past (born out of an adulterous affair in the Caribbean), his powerful and frenetic intellect ("Why do you write like you're running out of time?" asks one of my favorite songs), his feud with Jefferson and Madison, and his deadly duel with Aaron Burr to want to learn more. Unfortunately Williams doesn't give us that more that we are looking for. Chernow's book will require a bigger commitment of time and effort to read, but as the definitive modern biography and the source of Miranda's material it is the source I'm going to next. Instead of reading this one, invest the hour or two into Chernow to see if you want to go further.

  6. 5 out of 5

    George Siehl

    Alexander Hamilton was the object of historical and scholarly study long before his reincarnation in the recent rapper play, as author Tony Williams shows in an extended bibliographic essay after the conclusion of this very interesting book. Hamilton: An American Biography, depicts a very passionate Founding Father who fought in the American Revolutionary War, then strove to move the country beyond the inadequate Articles of Confederation to a unified nation under a constitution. The man combined Alexander Hamilton was the object of historical and scholarly study long before his reincarnation in the recent rapper play, as author Tony Williams shows in an extended bibliographic essay after the conclusion of this very interesting book. Hamilton: An American Biography, depicts a very passionate Founding Father who fought in the American Revolutionary War, then strove to move the country beyond the inadequate Articles of Confederation to a unified nation under a constitution. The man combined intellect, persistence, and combativeness for a cause to the highest levels. He is frequently portrayed as a proponent of honor, both his own and that of his adopted nation. At times, however, the West Indies nativet appears as if he lost the distinction between honor and ego. His policy preferences for a strong, centralized government earned him the lifetime enmity of his fellow cabinet member, Thomas Jefferson. Hamilton's stance on financial matters as Secretary of the Treasury, particularly his desire for a diversified industrial economy ran counter to Jefferson's vision for an agrarian America. Williams points out that Jefferson often ran to President Washington with rumors that Hamilton was trying to establish a new monarchy. Nonetheless, Washington placed great reliance in Hamilton throughout his two terms. Williams casts shadows on Jefferson's reputation repeatedly in this book. Apart from his efforts to malign Hamilton's motives, he also worked against Washington's Federalist policy. Williams writes, "Jefferson hired Philip Freneau, supposedly as a translator in the State Department. In truth, he was employed to serve as editor of a partisan newspaper to attack administration positions." Williams provides much in the politics of the time that sounds quite current. While the book avoids the wealth of detail found in more exhaustive biographies of our time, there are a number of times when a bit more detail would be appreciated. More background on a controversy or event, or something further on an outcome would be an improvement. Nonetheless, this is a useful, rewarding book. It displays the fervor of disagreement among the Founders over what the new nation was to be, and how best to achieve that vision. Recommended for a broad range of readers interested in American history and politics.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Admittedly, as author Tony Williams knows, I am not a Hamilton fan. I came into reading this book knowing that I was not a fan of the Independence hero, but I am a fan of Tony Williams. So, bias out in the open here's my short summary. Tony is the perfect person to write such a book. He states that when Hamilton searchers look for books to read, the obvious choice on bookstore shelves is Ron Chernow's brilliant biography standing out above the rest. It stand out because it is brilliant, but it al Admittedly, as author Tony Williams knows, I am not a Hamilton fan. I came into reading this book knowing that I was not a fan of the Independence hero, but I am a fan of Tony Williams. So, bias out in the open here's my short summary. Tony is the perfect person to write such a book. He states that when Hamilton searchers look for books to read, the obvious choice on bookstore shelves is Ron Chernow's brilliant biography standing out above the rest. It stand out because it is brilliant, but it also stands out because it's huge. Hamilton: An American Biography is Williams answer to the new Hamilton lover, the one who isn't quite ready to jump into Chernow's tome. To that end, it's perfect. Williams covers Hamilton's life in such a way that makes you want to know more, makes you even want to read Chernow's work among others. Williams' style is completely engaging from the start, and never disengages throughout - for that alone, one must read this historian's work, and just as this is a great book to introduce one into Hamilton's work, it is equally a great book to introduce the reader into Williams' work. Now here's why I gave it 5 stars. I admit I'm not a Hamilton fan, and in places I disagree with my friend. But Tony makes a great Hamiltonian case that rings consistently throughout. By the end of the book, even an anti-Hamiltonian like me found myself rooting for the often controversial figure. The main way that Williams accomplished this effect is he often compares controversial instances in that he makes the anti-Hamiltonian case where necessary. Yes, Tony is pro-Hamilton, but he's admits there were flaws, and points out what other historians had to say admirably. Sadly, however, in the end, someone from my ancestry handed Aaron Burr the gun in that infamous duel, and prematurely ended Hamilton's life. A life that has had enduring influence more than 200 years later.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grace Struiksma

    Hamilton: An American Biography, written by Tony Williams, is a clear, concise, focused analysis of the life of Alexander Hamilton and his contributions to the founding of the United States. Tony explores the humble West Indian upbringing of Hamilton as an impetus to his thirst for education and a sense of purpose in the world. He desired a life of public service and exemplified the principle of honor throughout his life, an example for today’s modern world. With a writing style that promotes gr Hamilton: An American Biography, written by Tony Williams, is a clear, concise, focused analysis of the life of Alexander Hamilton and his contributions to the founding of the United States. Tony explores the humble West Indian upbringing of Hamilton as an impetus to his thirst for education and a sense of purpose in the world. He desired a life of public service and exemplified the principle of honor throughout his life, an example for today’s modern world. With a writing style that promotes great interest to the reader throughout the text, Williams discusses Hamilton’s struggles as an aide to George Washington and service during the American Revolution, his passion for a national bank, his arguments for an economic system that promotes growth and stability, as well as his enthusiasm for a strong central government to ensure the success of a newly-created government. As a teacher of American History, I have found this fascinating, well-researched book to be one that I eagerly share with my students and include in my curriculum. Hamilton: An American Biography provides a captivating, readable account of one of the most significant contributors to the development of American government.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Molly Jean

    I have to confess that I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading this book because I have been suffering from a case of Hamilton overload, the good man is EVERYWHERE (case in point: a dog I would like to adopt has been named "Hamilton" by the rescue org). His incredible genius and his equally incredible arrogance have always made my head hurt. But because my book club assigned it, and I consider myself a team player, I decided to get with the program and read it. Now, I have a copy of the I have to confess that I wasn't particularly looking forward to reading this book because I have been suffering from a case of Hamilton overload, the good man is EVERYWHERE (case in point: a dog I would like to adopt has been named "Hamilton" by the rescue org). His incredible genius and his equally incredible arrogance have always made my head hurt. But because my book club assigned it, and I consider myself a team player, I decided to get with the program and read it. Now, I have a copy of the Chernow biography gathering dust on a bookshelf but I could never bring myself to start it. It's just too much. But this slender volume...well, welcome to Hamilton lite...just what I could handle...and all I need. The Hamilton issues and questions that I have always failed to grasp are suddenly clear (or clearer) to me. I have a few style quibbles that aren't worth discussing but kept the book at 4 stars instead of 5. I'm glad I took the plunge and read this book!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    Not the worst book - plenty of facts about Hamilton and the founding of the nation. But it does read like a primer for the musical, and much like a puff piece. Hamilton comes off like Superman, while Jefferson is a mashup of Lex Luthor and Snidely Whiplash, curling his evil moustache while plotting against our hero. When I first started reading about Revolutionary era history, I was surprised at the partisanship that wouldn't be out of place today, and that all of the characters were complex. It Not the worst book - plenty of facts about Hamilton and the founding of the nation. But it does read like a primer for the musical, and much like a puff piece. Hamilton comes off like Superman, while Jefferson is a mashup of Lex Luthor and Snidely Whiplash, curling his evil moustache while plotting against our hero. When I first started reading about Revolutionary era history, I was surprised at the partisanship that wouldn't be out of place today, and that all of the characters were complex. It's just not a good idea to try and shoehorn a figure like Hamilton (and Washington... and Adams... and Jefferson... and Madison) into 160 pages. The necessary nuance was absent here. Might be a good read for a plane ride, but consider it's as much opinion as history (like just about all journalism today).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Richardson

    I actually listened to the audiobook version from Tantor Media, read by Peter Berkrot. This edition is not listed at Goodreads as of the writing of this review, for some reason. I appreciate a lot about this biography. One could spend 36 hours listening to Ron Chernow's biography of Hamilton or read all 800 pages of the book (as did Lin Manuel Miranda, apparently) . Tony William's has gotten the essential facts about Hamilton into a book that can be listened to in a mere 6.5 hours. The downside i I actually listened to the audiobook version from Tantor Media, read by Peter Berkrot. This edition is not listed at Goodreads as of the writing of this review, for some reason. I appreciate a lot about this biography. One could spend 36 hours listening to Ron Chernow's biography of Hamilton or read all 800 pages of the book (as did Lin Manuel Miranda, apparently) . Tony William's has gotten the essential facts about Hamilton into a book that can be listened to in a mere 6.5 hours. The downside is that essential passages are presented in a very tersely. So much so that I found hard to follow at times. Well, there you have it, if you want to know more, you'll have to invest the time to read one of the more extensive biographies, of which there are several.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I am not a history buff. So I really liked that this book was short compared to many such books. And it was relatively easy to understand I do feel like I learned a lot — which is the reason I read the book. I am amazed at how history continues to repeat itself. I did not know that even then there were debates over the constitution. While it was still in its infancy. I appreciated what a long term view he had and his ability to “see” the economic Needs of a new nation playing on the world stage. I am not a history buff. So I really liked that this book was short compared to many such books. And it was relatively easy to understand I do feel like I learned a lot — which is the reason I read the book. I am amazed at how history continues to repeat itself. I did not know that even then there were debates over the constitution. While it was still in its infancy. I appreciated what a long term view he had and his ability to “see” the economic Needs of a new nation playing on the world stage. I found myself wondering many times ... what would our nation be like if it were not for him. Or not for men like him That flight for the principles and values of our country.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    As a truncated primer for going to see the musical... it succeeds. (and he pretty much admits that as his purpose) But it reads like a bad history book giving lots of the factual details but leaving you not really feeling like you were getting to know the man. Hamilton's basic motive of personal and national honor in everything comes through very clearly and there is a basic basis given for that from his childhood. Disappointingly though, the book doesn't go much beyond that in terms of explorin As a truncated primer for going to see the musical... it succeeds. (and he pretty much admits that as his purpose) But it reads like a bad history book giving lots of the factual details but leaving you not really feeling like you were getting to know the man. Hamilton's basic motive of personal and national honor in everything comes through very clearly and there is a basic basis given for that from his childhood. Disappointingly though, the book doesn't go much beyond that in terms of exploring his motives and character.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Trasa

    Very good review of Hamilton's life, but I had some stylistic issues with Mr. Willams, as he makes the mistake of an eminent historian. He assumes that the reader knows dates and details that we do not, and so occasionally the story was interrupted when I had to look pages back in the text for those things. But I do feel, after reading the book, that I know more than I did prior, which is my goal in reading historical nonfiction.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Stapleton

    We saw the musical in February and loved it. The rap music kept a very fast tempo and sometimes hard to understand but this book explains so much. Living in the 18th century, winning our independence from King George, the writing of the Constitution, and the beginning of our financial system are just a few things you learn from behind the scene. If you like reading stories of our founding fathers, then you will love this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Mayers

    I didn't know much about Alexander Hamilton before reading this book. It was really interesting and informative. I like the ease with which Hamilton's work and influence are exposed. The only thing I would have liked more is having more of his personal life told and just a little less of the historical background.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Philip Hartman

    I had read "1776" and "John Adams" previously and this title added an additional perspective on the Founding Fathers of the USA. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the early years of the USA.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zoey Massie

    Bad grammar Not terribly informative and his grammar was not well thought out. It doesn't appear anyone proof read this book prior to publishing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matty C

    A nice brief summary of his life, focused primarily on his public service career. Someday I'll read the Chernow book but this was a wonderful way to get my fix in for now.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Deacon Tom F

    A good solid read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    A quick-hit biography of Alexander Hamilton that wears its motivation on its sleeve: let's give a little historical depth to fans of the musical. I was hoping for some insight into the man himself, especially his volatile childhood and ascent to relevance, but that material is scarce, dispensed with quickly in favor of a laborious dig through the political arguments of early-days America. Such coverage is stiff and dry, often wandering away from Hamilton's direct influence and obsessing over det A quick-hit biography of Alexander Hamilton that wears its motivation on its sleeve: let's give a little historical depth to fans of the musical. I was hoping for some insight into the man himself, especially his volatile childhood and ascent to relevance, but that material is scarce, dispensed with quickly in favor of a laborious dig through the political arguments of early-days America. Such coverage is stiff and dry, often wandering away from Hamilton's direct influence and obsessing over details where, given the page count, a broader view may have been more appropriate.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Tony Williams has produced a clear, concise, and fast-paced biography of Alexander Hamilton for the general reader. It is now the best single-volume introduction to the life of one of the most important American founders--a statesman of the highest caliber who advocated for a “strong, reputable, and honorable nation at home and abroad.” Hamilton comes to us as a dynamic thinker and doer who thought about both principles and practices. From his own sense of deep honor, he advocated for a dynamic Tony Williams has produced a clear, concise, and fast-paced biography of Alexander Hamilton for the general reader. It is now the best single-volume introduction to the life of one of the most important American founders--a statesman of the highest caliber who advocated for a “strong, reputable, and honorable nation at home and abroad.” Hamilton comes to us as a dynamic thinker and doer who thought about both principles and practices. From his own sense of deep honor, he advocated for a dynamic national Union with a capable government, economy, and military defenses that were equal to the task. Not being an ideologue, he took circumstances into account when crafting policies such as those included in his Report on Manufacturers, which featured tariffs and other means government could use to support the country's young manufacturing sector. At a time where the basic building blocks of politics are frequently discarded or, even worse, not even known, Williams' book is a great starting pointing for any enterprising student of politics.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashlyn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh Schwartz

  27. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  28. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheri Mulhare

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mary Hall

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