Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation.In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, 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...

Details Alexander Hamilton

TitleAlexander Hamilton
Release DateMar 29th, 2005
PublisherPenguin Books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, North American Hi..., American History, Politics

Reviews Alexander Hamilton

  • Jon
    It had a lot less hip-hop than I was expecting, but I still really liked it.
  • Darwin8u
    "I heal all wounds but those which love hath made."- Inscription on an envelope to Eliza Hamilton from her husband Alexander.I have read many political biographies in my 41 years, but few better. Chernow is able to walk that narrow, tricky trail between scholarship and narrative storytelling without tripping over hagiography. He presents the largeness and improbableness of Alexander Hamilton without leaving out Hamilton's excesses and flights of ...
  • Sean Gibson
    I’ve been wracking my brains literally for months trying to figure out who I can compare Alexander Hamilton to on the modern politocelebrity scene (or “to whom I can compare” him, if you douchey grammar wonks prefer).There are two reasons that process has taken months: 1) I’m currently operating with the mental processing power of an old Radio Shack TRS-80 (on the plus side, I guess that means I can run awesome software like Mavis Beacon ...
  • Kemper
    Like a lot of people I’ve been listening to the Hamilton musical album non-stop and read this because it was the source of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s inspiration to create the brilliant Broadway show. The idea that a dense biography of an American Founding Father who was probably best known to the general public as the guy on the the ten dollar bill and the subject of a pretty funny Got Milk? commercial would someday lead to the creation of an incr...
  • Aimee Meester
    At what point do you realize that you're in too deep because right now I'm crying actual tears over A. Ham and gosh dang it this is powerful you guys. ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN TO YOU A THING. Yes, the Broadway musical Hamilton lead me here. I can't say I'd have such a rabid interest in all things Alexander Hamilton/founding fathers if not for that weird collection of hip-hop musical numbers. But the more I read this the more I loved it for itself and ...
  • Jessica
    I have now read the Hamiltome. (I know that's what people call the book Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote about the musical, but seriously, this thing could stop bullets.) I wouldn't have picked this book up if it weren't for the musical, and it wasn't exactly light reading, but I'm glad that I did. Before I did, I was kinda sure that Hamilton was the guy who was shot by Aaron Burr, and pretty sure he'd never been president, and if I thought for a second ...
  • Trudi
    If they break this Union, they will break my heart.~Alexander Hamilton If anybody had told me a year ago that I would be delving into an 800 page biography on arguably America's least known Founding Father, first Secretary of the Treasury and he of ten dollar bill fame, I would have said they were crazy. But like so many people who will read this book in the coming years, it all started with a mad love affair for the Broadway musical. It's litera...
  • Matthew
    I am now prepared to see the Hamilton musical. Also, I now know more about Alexander Hamilton than I ever thought I would. Despite its length, the book stayed generally interesting throughout. There was a section in the middle that got into the establishment of the US banking system where I got a little lost, but overall the book stayed accessible.Another thing that helped keep things interesting was that the audio was read by Scott Brick. Brick ...
  • Nicole~
    4.5/5 starsHow does a bastard orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgottenspot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar? The ten dollar founding father without a father got a lot further by working a lot harder, by being a lot smarter, by being a self starter, by fourteen, they placed him in charge of a trading charter. And ev'ry day while slaves were being slaught...
  • Mike Mcfarland
    Alexander Hamilton will make you feel bad about yourself. When he was about 19 years old, he had not only graduated from Columbia University, he was also George Washington's aide-de-camp. When he was about 30, he was already one of the most successful lawyers in New York, he was responsible for writing the U.S. Constitution, and was in the process of building the U.S. Treasury Department from nothing. He was a genuinely brilliant and astonishing ...
  • Cinda
    So I'm sitting on a plane crying over the ending of this book. It's not like I didn't already know how it turns out. But I didn't know Alexander Hamilton before--not in the way I do now. No lie, reading this book is a major undertaking. I am a lover of history and biography and this is one of the most compelling true stories I've read in a long time. I've always been a little obsessed with Thomas Jefferson because the man had so many conflicts an...
  • Perry
    Rise Up! Time to Take a Shot!Reviewing a historical biography can be a difficult task, a genre for which the writing can veer to the monotonous. Here, Ron Chernow does a kingly job with his impeccable research and suaveloquent writing. More significantly of late, this bio served as the basis for the fantastic new blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton. I'll step back and let Lin-Manuel Miranda's daedal lyrics give you the players and a sketch of p...
  • Joseph
    I don't know that I have ever read a single book that so changed my perception of history. The Author is able to truly show the brilliance and importance of Hamilton's contribution to our government.I have always had the mistaken perception that Hamilton was a hinderance to free Government and that it was Jefferson and Monroe that were the true authors. I learned that I could not have been more mistaken. Hamilton was a man of sheer genius. Raisin...
  • Jason Koivu
    Hamilton's ability to rise above a bastard's upbringing and his unsure beginnings to one of the highest offices of the US is one of those "American dream" stories that our forefathers built the cliche upon. Chernow handles the material, lived-out so many years ago, with a deft hand, keeping my interest even through the parts I would normally find boring, such as the country's financial structuring which Hamilton masterminded. Of course, it is Ham...
  • Matt
    In an ongoing project to better educate myself about important political figures in history, I sought to return to another member of the American Founding Fathers. However, to call Alexander Hamilton a 'father' when surrounded by Washington, Franklin, and Jefferson seems slightly odd, as he was much younger than the others around the table. While that may be true, Ron Chernow effectively argues that Hamilton was a substantial, even quintessential...
  • Sesana
    There's no point in me pretending that I read this lengthy biography for any other reason than my current obsession with the musical Hamilton. As a Hamilton fan, I was pleased to see that Miranda had stuck fairly closely to historical fact, with a compressed chronology. And somewhat more sympathy afforded to Jefferson and Burr than Chernow has, interestingly enough. So if you're reading solely from a place of love for the musical, you won't be di...
  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    "Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton. And there's a million things I haven't done, but just you wait, just you waaaaaaaaait." First things first: if you haven't listened to Hamilton, do yourself a favour and go listen to Hamilton. Because it's a freaking masterpiece. Anyway. On with the book review. I obviously read this because I'm Hamiltrash, as is the case with so many other reviewers. And what struck me about this were two thing...
  • Chab
    As I have grown older, -I must confess.- my opinion of Thomas Jefferson has changed radically. I still grant him enormous credit as an architect, inventor, and prose stylist; however, I have become more and more estranged from his politics and methods. And I must confess again that this most excellent biography of Alexander Hamilton has only served to harden my revised opinion of Jefferson and the political Jeffersonians.I approached this book kn...
  • Stacee
    Definitely not something I would have ever picked up, but after becoming obsessed with Hamilton, I was curious. It was a bit dry, but very well written. I did skim parts of it, basically just wanting details for the sections of Hamilton's life that are highlighted in the play. The last chapters dealing with the duel and the aftermath were heartbreaking.
  • Suzanne
    This is an exhaustive work that took me quite a while to complete. I knew very little about Alexander Hamilton when I visited Nevis a few years ago and saw signs to his birthplace. Nevis is quite proud of this fact, as they should be. His birthplace is basically in ruins, a stone shack overrun with chickens and goats. Nothing more. Just a sign. The circumstances of his birth, his early life, his mother's imprisonment for alleged adultery, his fat...
  • Conor
    This gets a solid 3.5 stars, but more for effort than for objectivity or verve. I feel obligated to mention how I came to this book. I did my undergraduate at the University of Virginia, which Thomas Jefferson founded and which ranked as one of the three accomplishments that Jefferson wished reflected in his epitaph. The love is no less genuine or intense going the other way, either, with the school's unofficial soubriquet being "Mr. Jefferson's ...
  • Renata
    This by far the most stimulating, thought provoking, absolutely enriching, fascinating biography I have ever read (actually, listened to on Audio). It consumed me for months and I talked about it to anyone who was motionless enough to listen. It helped me keep both my sanity and perspective (think long term historical here) during a horrendous election year. So good to know it wasn't our first and that fabricating stories occurred on both sides. ...
  • Renata
    Best Bestsellers bonus episode: this getting a bonus star because of inspiring Hamilton the musical? YES PROBABLY my reviews are all subject to personal WHIMSY.Anyway, I never would have picked this up if it weren't for Hamilton the musical. But Hamilton the musical wouldn't exist if it weren't for this book!Chernow does a great job of fleshing out Hamilton as a smart, scrappy, irritating human being (wi...
  • William1
    Wonderful—an education in itself. Voluble, big-hearted.
  • M.
    This is the first biography that I've read all the way through--foreword, introduction, afterword, footnotes, and all--which is a big deal for me because I'm not a big nonfiction reader. So giving it the full 5-star rating is an even bigger deal. It feels like a book worthy of the highest rating because so much work went into crafting it and making it the page-turner that it is, but much to my surprise it's not heavy at all. It's actually a quick...
  • Rachel Beeler
    Thanks to tumblr, I got into Hamilton approximately 8 months ago and I am now #Hamiltrash, so thanks for that tumblr. The immense scope of this book in comparison to the succinct musical (which is insanely brilliant) kind of blows my mind. There is so much detail in this book, yet it remains compulsively readable. Per Chernow, Hamilton was a human word machine, which I think is something that can also be said about Chernow the biographer and Lin-...
  • Steven Z.
    The popularity of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” has rekindled interest in Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury. I read the original when it was published and I found it to be an amazingly comprehensive study which included incisive analysis and a fairly objective approach to its subject. Since I will be teaching a course entitled, “Hamilton: The Musical, Historically Accurate or Not” I decide...
  • rachel
    Every other Founding Father's story gets told,Every other Founding Father gets to grow old.Might as well get this out of the way now: despite the lyrics I just quoted, I didn't read this book out of any interest in Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical. Even upon finishing what is one of the best books I have probably ever read, I still don't have much interest in seeing it, because I am a curmudgeon who gets no joy from anachronisms. That being said, I u...