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Alexander Hamilton: A Lifeby Willard Ste Randall
"Americans lack a great biography of their most brilliant, far-seeing, and dashing Founder, Alexander Hamilton. (This is especially annoying given that even John Adams's effete and neurasthenic great-grandson Henry has been granted not one but two exceptional multi-volume studies.) If, as Progressive historians would have it, American politics was for a century a struggle between Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians, Hamilton's vision of America triumphed long ago. In his Report on the Public Credit and Report on the Subject of Manufactures he did nothing less than limn America's capitalist development; and of course the Federalist Papers (of which his essays form the bulk) constitutes America's most original contribution to political theory. In short, it is impossible to understand this country without apprehending Hamilton." Benjamin Schwarz, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
Synopses & Reviews
In the first full, one-volume biography of Alexander Hamilton in more than two decades, award-winning historian Willard Sterne Randall takes a fresh look at one of the most brilliant, conflicted, and elusive of our nation's founders.
Orphaned at thirteen and apprenticed in a counting house, the precocious Hamilton learned principles of business that helped him, as the first U.S. secretary of the treasury, to create the American banking system and invent the modern corporation. But first the staunch, intrepid Hamilton served in the American Revolution, primarily as aide-de-camp to General Washington, acting as Washington's spymaster. Forging a successful legal career, Hamilton coauthored The Federalist Papers and plunged into politics. Irresistibly attractive to women, he was a man of many gifts, but he could be arrogant and was at times a poor judge of character.
In this meticulously researched, illuminating, and lively account, Willard Sterne Randall mines the latest scholarship to provide a new perspective on Alexander Hamilton, his illegitimate birth, little-known military activities, political and diplomatic intrigues, and sometimes scandalous private life.
From his less than auspicious start in 1755 on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his untimely death in a duel with his old enemy Aaron Burr in 1804, Alexander Hamilton, despite his short and tragic life, left a huge legacy.
Book News Annotation:
Randall (humanities, Champlain College, Vermont) continues his long string of biographies and histories about the early US republic. Hamilton (1755-1804) is perhaps best known now for losing a duel with Aaron Burr, but was also the first secretary of the treasury, author of the Federalist Papers, enforcer for George Washington, creator of Wall Street, and founder of the US Navy. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Includes bibliographical references (p. -452) and index.
From his less than auspicious start in 1755 on the Caribbean island of Nevis, to his unhappy fate in 1804 in Weehawken, New Jersey, at the hands of his old enemy Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton's short life left a huge legacy.
Orphaned at 11 and apprenticed to a counting house, Hamilton learned the principles of business that helped him, as the first Secretary of the Treasury, create the American banking system and invent the modern corporation. He served in the American Revolution, primarily as aide-de-camp to General Washington, and subsequently developed a successful legal career, cowrote The Federalist Papers, and built a life in politics. Told in a highly readable style, Alexander Hamilton: A Life presents a totally fresh look at Hamilton, his contributions, and what they mean today.
About the Author
Willard Sterne Randall is the Visiting Professor of Humanities at Champlain College in Vermont and an expert on early U.S. history. He received the Sidney Hillman Prize and the National Magazine Award as an investigative reporter. His book, Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and A Little Revenge: Benjamin Franklin and His Son won the Frank Luther Mott Prize. He lives in Burlington, Vermont with his family.
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