Alexander Hamilton by Ron ChernowAlexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Alexander Hamilton

byRon Chernow

Paperback | March 29, 2005

Pricing and Purchase Info

$23.71 online 
$26.00 list price save 8%
Earn 119 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores

about

New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical 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 full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.”

Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. “To repudiate his legacy,” Chernow writes, “is, in many ways, to repudiate the modern world.” Chernow here recounts Hamilton’s turbulent life: an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, he came out of nowhere to take America by storm, rising to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Continental Army, coauthoring The Federalist Papers, founding the Bank of New York, leading the Federalist Party, and becoming the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.Historians have long told the story of America’s birth as the triumph of Jefferson’s democratic ideals over the aristocratic intentions of Hamilton. Chernow presents an entirely different man, whose legendary ambitions were motivated not merely by self-interest but by passionate patriotism and a stubborn will to build the foundations of American prosperity and power. His is a Hamilton far more human than we’ve encountered before—from his shame about his birth to his fiery aspirations, from his intimate relationships with childhood friends to his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Monroe, and Burr, and from his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds to his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza. And never before has there been a more vivid account of Hamilton’s famous and mysterious death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July of 1804.

Chernow’s biography is not just a portrait of Hamilton, but the story of America’s birth seen through its most central figure. At a critical time to look back to our roots, Alexander Hamilton will remind readers of the purpose of our institutions and our heritage as Americans.

“Nobody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow” —The New York Times Book Review 

Ron Chernow's new biography, Grant, will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017. 

Ron Chernow is the prize-winning author of six books and the recipient of the 2015 National Humanities Medal. His first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award, Washington: A Life won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and Alexander Hamilton was the inspiration for the Broadway musical. His new biography, Grant, will...
Loading
Title:Alexander HamiltonFormat:PaperbackDimensions:832 pages, 9.17 × 5.97 × 1.67 inPublished:March 29, 2005Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143034758

ISBN - 13:9780143034759

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book is 800+ pages of enjoyment. It flows lavishly from page to page. It may appear daunting to some due to the large page count but in reality it is such an easy read that one will have a hard time putting the book down. Making those 800+ pages fly by.
Date published: 2018-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great great read. Highly recommend. Very inspiring and well-written account of Alexander Hamilton.
Date published: 2018-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from HAMILTON Read this right after watching the musical. I am in love, such incredible detail
Date published: 2018-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History can be fun Started reading it because of the musical and so far I am quite enjoying it. Although it id s biography, it surely reads like many novels and I am intrigued and fascinated the deeper I get into it.
Date published: 2017-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Read Read this by the beach and could not put it down! Fascinating, especially as a fan of the musical.
Date published: 2017-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! It was very detailed and read more like a story rather than a textbook. Very interesting read
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it despite it's bias and flaws, this is the best hamilton biography i've read
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great! Chernow provides an interesting and accessible view of Hamilton's life and brings a long forgotten figure into the present.
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fantastic book expansive and well-researched. really brings you to the time that is described.
Date published: 2017-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was my first step into biographical writing, and while this book might have easily swallowed me up Chernow managed to strike a fine balance between narrative flow and historical documentation. Delving equally into personal and political history, the author did a wonderful job at pondering the possible psychology behind Hamilton's full and short life, which made for a very engaging and moving read.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Very interesting and detailed biography, a must read of anyone interested in American history.
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Bought it because of the musical and expected your average run-of-the-mill history biography but it was nothing of the sort. Chernow explains Hamilton's already interesting life in a way that makes the book read as a story as opposed to a general listing of the facts. All of the information is extremely vivid and gives just the right amount of background information needed to appreciate the book even more.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I'm not big on biographies, but this one was worth reading. You must like history to read this one. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Good Read For Anyone Interested In History If you're a fan of Hamilton or not, this book was an amazing read. Ron Chernow is one of my favourite historical writers, after reading Washington: A Life I decided to pick this up and I was certainly not disappointed.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A good one! Not only is this biography very informative, it is also very insightful. Chernow creates such a vivid picture of Hamilton, it is almost as though you know Hamilton personally. Such an interesting and engaging read
Date published: 2016-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful and thorough Very informative and well-written, extremely informative and a nice supplement for any curious Hamilton musical fans out there.
Date published: 2016-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging! Chernow manages to weave incredibly thorough research into an engaging narrative. He offers amazing insight into Hamilton's life, from his accomplishments as a public servant to his turbulent personal life, and does a fantastic job of retelling the life of an iconic American figure.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible! I bought this book because of the musical Hamilton. I thought this would be just another history book but I was wrong, I am on the edge of my seat when reading this and have spent many nights reading until my eyes just can't stay open anymore. Chernow weaves a rich and enthralling narrative to the turbulent life, rise and tragic death of one of America's forgotten founders. A must read for anyone with an interest in early America, as Hamilton pops up at so many fundamental intersections from the early days of the revolution to the election of Jefferson.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Although its a large hunk of material, it's an interesting and thrilling read. Despite knowing the inevitable outcome of Hamilton's story, Chernow writes in a way that is thrilling and exciting. He known that his reader's most likely know the ending, so the question lies in finding a way to understand how the inevitable came to be. A must read for any historical enthusiast.
Date published: 2016-11-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Probably more detailed than you expected, but you'll eat up every word Like most people who have read this book recently, I was drawn to it because it is the inspiration for Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash hit Broadway musical 'Hamilton.' Ron Chernow's book gave me a ton of insight on the details behind the songs, and considering that there are 730 pages plus nearly 100 more in endnotes, it was a very engaging read. The research is meticulously done, includes a range of primary sources as well as views from a variety of historians, and gives loads of context regarding the political and social climate that Hamilton lived in. For a fan of 'Hamilton,' I absolutely recommend this. For those interested in biographies or American history, there's a lot of great details to sink your teeth into.
Date published: 2016-11-06

Read from the Book

On the night of April 18, 1775, 800 British troops marched out of Boston to capture Samuel Adams and John Hancock and seize a stockpile of patriot munitions in Concord, Massachusetts. As they passed Lexington, they encountered a motley battalion of militia farmers known as Minutemen, and in the ensuing exchange of gunfire the British killed 8 colonists and then 2 more in Concord. As the redcoats retreated helter-skelter to Boston, they were riddled by sniper fire that erupted from behind hedges, stone walls, and fences, leaving a bloody trail of 273 British casualties versus 95 dead or wounded for the patriots.The news reached New York within four days and a mood of insurrection promptly overtook the city. People gathered at taverns and street corners to ponder events while Tories quaked. The newly emboldened Sons of Liberty streamed down to the East River docks, pilfered ships bound for British troops in Boston, then emptied the city hall arsenal of its muskets, bayonets, and cartridge boxes, grabbing a thousand weapons in all.Armed with this cache, volunteer militia companies sprang up overnight. However much the British might deride these ragtag citizen-soldiers, they conducted their business seriously. Inflamed by the astonishing news from Massachusetts, Alexander Hamilton, then a student at King’s College (later Columbia University), was that singular intellectual who picked up a musket as fast as a pen. Nicholas Fish recalled that “immediately after the Battle of Lexington, [Hamilton] attached himself to one of the uniform companies of militia then forming for the defence of the country by the patriotic young men of this city under the command of Captain Fleming.” Fish and Robert Troup, both classmates of Hamilton, were among the earnest cadre of King’s College volunteers who drilled before classes each morning in the churchyard of nearby St. Paul’s Chapel. The fledgling volunteer company was named the Hearts of Oak. The young recruits marched briskly past tombstones with the motto of “Liberty or Death” stitched across their round leather caps. On short, snug green jackets they also sported, for good measure, red tin hearts that announced “God and our Right.”Hamilton approached this daily routine with the same perfectionist ardor that he exhibited in his studies. Troup stressed the “military spirit” infused into Hamilton and noted that he was “constant in his attendance and very ambitious of improvement.” Never one to fumble an opportunity, Hamilton embarked on a comprehensive military education. With his absorbent mind, he mastered infantry drills, pored over volumes on military tactics and learned the rudiments of gunnery and pyrotechnics from a veteran bombardier. There was a particular doggedness about this young man, as if he were already in training for something far beyond lowly infantry duty.On April 24, a huge throng of patriots massed in front of city hall. While radicals grew giddy with excitement, many terrified Tory merchants began to book passage for England. The next day, an anonymous handbill blamed Myles Cooper, the Tory president of King’s College, and four other “obnoxious gentlemen” for patriotic deaths in Massachusetts and said the moment had passed for symbolic gestures. “The injury you have done to your country cannot admit of reparation,” these five loyalists were warned. “Fly for your lives or anticipate your doom by becoming your own executioners.” A defiant Myles Cooper stuck to his post.After a demonstration on the night of May 10, hundreds of protesters, armed with clubs and heated by a heady brew of political rhetoric and strong drink, descended on King’s College, ready to inflict rough justice on Myles Cooper. Hercules Mulligan recalled that Cooper “was a Tory and an obnoxious man and the mob went to the college with the intention of tarring and feathering him or riding him upon a rail.” Nicholas Ogden, a King’s alumnus, saw the angry mob swarming toward the college and raced ahead to Cooper’s room, urging the president to scramble down a back window. Because Hamilton and Troup shared a room near Cooper’s quarters, Ogden also alerted them to the approaching mob. “Whereupon Hamilton instantly resolved to take his stand on the stairs [the outer stoop] in front of the Doctor’s apartment and there to detain the mob as long as he could by an harangue in order to gain the Doctor the more time for his escape,” Troup recorded.After the mob knocked down the gate and surged toward the residence, Hamilton launched into an impassioned speech, telling the boisterous protesters that their conduct, instead of promoting their cause, would “disgrace and injure the glorious cause of liberty.” One account has the slightly deaf Cooper poking his head from an upper-story window and observing Hamilton gesticulating on the stoop below. He mistakenly thought that his pupil was inciting the crowd instead of pacifying them and shouted, “Don’t mind what he says. He’s crazy!” Another account has Cooper shouting at the ruffians: “Don’t believe anything Hamilton says. He’s a little fool!” The more plausible version is that Cooper had vanished, having scampered away in his nightgown once Ogden forewarned him of the approaching mob.Hamilton knew he couldn’t stop the intruders but he won the vital minutes necessary for Cooper to clamber over a back fence and rush down to the Hudson. Of all the incidents in Hamilton’s early life in America, his spontaneous defense of Myles Cooper was probably the most telling. It showed that he could separate personal honor from political convictions and presaged a recurring theme of his career: the superiority of forgiveness over revenge. Most of all, the episode captured the contradictory impulses struggling inside this complex young man, an ardent revolutionary with a profound dread that popular sentiment would boil over into dangerous excess.

Table of Contents

Author's Note

Prologue: The Oldest Revolutionary War Widow
One: The Castaways
Two: Hurricane
Three: The Collegian
Four: The Pen and the Sword
Five: The Little Lion
Six: A Frenzy of Valor
Seven: The Lovesick Colonel
Eight: Glory
Nine: Raging Billows
Ten: A Grave, Silent, Strange Sort of Animal
Eleven: Ghosts
Twelve: August and Respectable Assembly
Thirteen: Publius
Fourteen: Putting the Machine in Motion
Fifteen: Villainous Business
Sixteen:
Dr. Pangloss
Seventeen: The First Town in America
Eighteen: Of Avarice and Enterprise
Nineteen: City of the Future
Twenty: Corrupt Squadrons
Twenty-One: Exposure
Twenty-Two: Stabbed in the Dark
Twenty-Three: Citizen Genet
Twenty-Four: A Disagreeable Trade
Twenty-Five: Seas of Blood
Twenty-Six: The Wicked Insurgents of the West
Twenty-Seven: Sugar Plums and Toys
Twenty-Eight: Spare Cassius
Twenty-Nine: The Man in the Glass Bubble
Thirty: Flying Too Near the Sun
Thirty-One: An Instrument of Hell
Thirty-Two: Reign of Witches
Thirty-Three: Works Godly and Ungodly
Thirty-Four: In an Evil Hour
Thirty-Five: Gusts of Passion
Thirty-Six: In a Very Belligerent Humor
Thirty-Seven: Deadlock
Thirty-Eight: A World Full of Folly
Thirty-Nine: Pamphlet Wars
Forty: The Price of Truth
Forty-One: A Despicable Opinion
Forty-Two: Fatal Errand
Forty-Three: The Melting Scene

Epilogue: Eliza

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Selected Books, Pamphlets, and Dissertations
Selected Articles
Index

Editorial Reviews

"...[N]obody has captured Hamilton better than Chernow..." —The New York Times Book Review"...[A] biography commensurate with Hamilton's character, as well as the full, complex context of his unflaggingly active life.... This is a fine work that captures Hamilton's life with judiciousness and verve." —Publishers Weekly"A splendid life of an enlightened reactionary and forgotten Founding Father. Literate and full of engaging historical asides. By far the best of the many lives of Hamilton now in print, and a model of the biographer’s art."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)"A robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all." —Joseph J. Ellis, author of Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation"A brilliant historian has done it again! The thoroughness and integrity of Ron Chernow’s research shines forth on every page of his Alexander Hamilton. He has created a vivid and compelling portrait of a remarkable man—and at the same time he has made a monumental contribution to our understanding of the beginnings of the American Republic.” —Robert A. Caro, author of The Power Broker and The Years of Lyndon Johnson"Alexander Hamilton was one of the most brilliant men of his brilliant time, and one of the most fascinating figures in all of American history. His rocketing life-story is utterly amazing. His importance to the founding of the new nation, and thus to the whole course of American history, can hardly be overstated. And so Ron Chernow's new Hamilton could not be more welcome. This is grand-scale biography at its best—thorough, insightful, consistently fair, and superbly written. It clears away more than a few shop-worn misconceptions about Hamilton, gives credit where credit is due, and is both clear-eyed and understanding about its very human subject. Its numerous portraits of the complex, often conflicting cast of characters are deft and telling. The whole life and times are here in a genuinely great book." —David McCullough, author of John Adams