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Old September 11th, 2016, 07:35 AM   #1

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"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow


I just started this book which I received for my birthday so I can't review it yet. But as I proceed, I'd enjoy discussing it. Anybody in?

In the Introduction to this 2004 biography, the author tells us that he is drawing on vast volumes of Hamilton's papers that were published in the 1960s-80s as well as some previously unknown essays by Hamilton that he uncovered in his research and primary sources from records in Europe and the West Indies. A lot of this material wouldn't have been available to earlier biographers, so this should be interesting.
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Old September 11th, 2016, 08:08 PM   #2
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I have read it, a good read though I will be the first to admit I found it rather biased towards the end. Though many a biographer paint a flattering portrait of their subject and Chernow will hardly be the first!
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Old September 11th, 2016, 08:40 PM   #3

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I very much enjoyed the book on the whole. The one part I remember as sticking out to me as an example of Chernow's biases coming to the fore is his treatment of the famous duel; it seemed to me he was very much stretching the facts to try and paint Burr as a cold-blooded murderer.
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Old September 11th, 2016, 08:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperlord View Post
I very much enjoyed the book on the whole. The one part I remember as sticking out to me as an example of Chernow's biases coming to the fore is his treatment of the famous duel; it seemed to me he was very much stretching the facts to try and paint Burr as a cold-blooded murderer.
I did not get quite that impression, I more got the impression that Hamilton wanted to paint Burr as a murderer by throwing away his shot and that he succeeded largely in that.

Not to mention Burr was unrepentant in killing a man. But he did try and paint the facts as though Burr came to the duel to kill Hamilton
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Old September 12th, 2016, 06:29 AM   #5

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Okay, well I'm only a few chapters into the book, so I haven't read the duel scenes yet. But remember that early on in the book he "foreshadows" the event by describing a duel Hamilton witnessed while living in St. Croix.

From the chapters I've read so far, I am impressed by the way he ties Hamilton's early life experiences to his later achievements. Observing the weaknesses of the sugarcane driven economy in the West Indies, for example, led to his theories on manufacturing and diversification. And witnessing the brutal treatment of slaves in the West Indies resulted in him later becoming an abolitionist.

Interesting.
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