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Alexander Hamilton

Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 35 hrs and 58 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (376 ratings)

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Summary

Alexander Hamilton was an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean who overcame all the odds to become George Washington's aide-de-camp and the first Treasury Secretary of the United States. Few figures in American history are more controversial.

In this masterful work, Chernow shows how the political and economic power of America today is the result of Hamilton's willingness to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. He charts his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe and Burr; his highly public affair with Maria Reynolds; his loving marriage to his loyal wife Eliza; and the notorious duel with Aaron Burr that led to his death in July 1804.

The book was adapted into a hugely successful Broadway musical - winner of 11 Tony awards - which opens at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in November 2017.

©2016 Head of Zeus (P)2004 Penguin Random House LLC

Critic reviews

"A mammoth work of research that charted the course of Hamilton's dazzling career." ( Guardian)
"An elegantly written, richly detailed account of Hamilton's tempestuous life." ( The Times)
"A brilliant recreation of the society and culture of the time: thoughtful and playful, moving and powerful." (Michael Gove)

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An amazing life

The fact that Hamilton's life can fill 36 hours of engaging and interesting description testifies to what an important figure he was in the birth and establishment of the United States of America. He was an inspiring and talented soldier and in peacetime instrumental in shaping the financial system of the fledgling country. So it all the more surprising that, while Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin are household names, Hamilton's is not. Maybe his early death and the fact that both Adams and Jefferson hated him and went out of their way to denigrate and slander him, often with false accusations to undermine his reputation, when he was alive and that continued after his death enabled them to airbrush Hamilton's contributions out of the historical record. I must say I was surprised by the waste of time and energy expended by the politicians by their internecine conflicts.
The book is not only a biography of this important figure but also an insight into how the USA shed the dominance of the Britain, developed their own political system and started to unpick dependence on slaves as cheap labour.

8 people found this helpful

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BrilliNT

Had no idea what to expect as I like very early history but an so glad I chose this as my first foray into US history. What's remarkable man! Even amongst that group of remarkable people and events, he stands a lot taller than his height. I have changed my opinion on many of the early presidential histories I had gleaned from other stories and documentaries. I would have liked to have met him... and I can't say that about many of the people I have read about. Narration second to none. Well worth the listen

15 people found this helpful

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Alexander Hamilton, his name is Alexander Hamilton

Like most people in the UK I'd never heard of Alexander Hamilton until the musical of his life began wowing audiences in the US. I only had to hear the title song (which strangely reveals the whole plot) , to want to know more about this pivotal figure of the American Revoution. I'm so glad that I did, Ron Chernow tells a superb tale. From Hamilton's boyhood in the West Indies, through the events of the revolutionary war, to the politics of the early republic and finally to a New Jersey duelling ground, the book moves at a fair clip. Some of The Federalist/Republican party civil war is a little dry but its a testament to Chernow's skill as a writer (and Scott Brick's fabulous narration!) that eventually I got the gist of what was going on.

Hamilton is a brilliant if flawed subject of a book. God only knows how Manuel Lin Miranda thought that this book would make a great musical but I'm glad that he did, or I would have never heard of Hamilton and the impact that he made on the world.

Highly recommended!

27 people found this helpful

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  • 18-04-18

Excellent

This is a truly captivating and moving story and a brilliant introduction to American revolutionary history

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exceeds the musicial

when you hear the unabridged version of this book the musical pales in comparison. its gripping from beginning to end.

5 people found this helpful

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Another outstanding biography by Ron Chernow

I didn't know about Alexander Hamilton until I decided to buy this book. Bought it because it was authored by Ron Chernow, from whom I had read the excellent Ulysses S. Grant biography. As it turns out, the decision to buy this audiobook was a wise one. The book is well written, detailed, with a solid research and tells a thrilling, vivid and remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, his life, his character and his remarkable contribution to the foundation of the USA and it's governing institutions.
Supported by an excellent narration, this is a strongly recommended book, one that brings the best of audiobooks, for an enjoyable listening experience.

1 person found this helpful

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Thorough history of the newly famous man

Amazing story well read. Some of the constitutional and economic detail area little heavy but still interesting.


1 person found this helpful

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A monumental biography

Ron Chernow's magnificent, monumental and lyrical biography of Alexander Hamilton is littered with great stories and wise insights. His biography of John D Rockefeller is equally good.

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Great man of his era

A life to be remembered and emulated... it's a shame he dies so "young"... more people should know about this man

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting and long

I was not familiar with the history of Hamilton and was drawn to this since it is apparently the inspiration for Miranda's musical. It is detailed and meticulously researched, quoting from a wide range of sources: letters and publications by Hamilton and those around him, as well as other biographies. Hamilton is not deified, but I did feel that the author was biased at times. I noted particularly that all the women who had affairs with the protagonist and others were cast as either devious or loose, and that the men were often portrayed as the manipulated ones. I was also fascinated that the partisan nature of politics between the Republicans and the then Federalists started in the 1st government post the war of independence.

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  • Mauricio Sillano
  • 20-04-18

Excellent

Like him or not, the writing is flawless, research is comprehensive and tone is neutral enough. He’s not portrayed as a pure hero, and his character shows all the traits of a flawed but intense human.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Steven-Meyer
  • 21-07-19

Incredibly well researched and articulated

As an Australian with zero knowledge of American history I found this book so interesting. Looking forward to seeing the musical on Broadway on our next visit.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vanessa Visbal
  • 21-03-19

A dream come true

Since I listened to the Hamilton: An American Musical OBC soundtrack I wanted to read it

1 person found this helpful