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Alexander Hamilton

Abridged Audio Book

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Grover Gardner

11 Hours 37 Minutes

Penguin Audio

October 2004

Audio Book Summary

A 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 From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Reviews

  • George Opitz

    Truly an excellent book and listen. Highly recommend to any history or non-fiction enthusiast. Well done.

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  • Stacey Ryan

    Great story all the way around, especially for someone who never paid attention to history lessons in school. Interesting how timely it is to today in many ways. Wish I could see the play and have it all brought to life.

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  • michael roberts

    it was good, after Washington then hamilton I tired of chernow's style

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  • Dianne Mueller

    Terrific but not as fabulous as Chernow\'s Washinton. So sad that Hamillton does not have Washington\'s insight in controlling passions and temperament. He was his own worst enemy. . Humans suffered premature deaths due to Burt\'s corruption and avarice. Unconscionable! Thank God Washington had Hamilton to guide him.

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  • Cody Casey

    This is a terrific book! I knew very little about Hamilton before listening to this book. Afterward I started searching for more reading on The American forefathers.

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  • Andy Parker

    Loved this book. Having read Meacham's bio of Jefferson, I now know that Hamilton was his equal if not his superior. Were it not for AH, this country would probably not be a country.

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  • Shelly

    I absolutely loved this book. It was well written and the author successfully brought the characters to life, exposing their motivations, compassion, corruption, etc. Facts and historical references are used to set the stage for the actions that take place, instead of bogging down the story to the point where you feel as though you're reading a textbook in preparation for a pop quiz.

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  • Anonymous

    This book was fascinating. Can't tell you how many times I wished my trip wouldn't end so I could keep listening.

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  • Drew

    After earlier reading Fallen Founder (The Life of Aaron Burr) and John Adams, it was easy to pick up on the villain Alexander Hamilton. In preparing to delve into this book, I was expecting a book of excuses. Instead, what I found was a bit of humility about the man and the ignoring of some circumstances in his life that shone him in a bad light. But I also discovered that the John Adams and Aaron Burr portrayals were lacking in a balanced history of Hamilton. I think any high school history student or college history major should read the Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton books back to back. There in they will find the truth about history. It is almost always told from a point of view. The book itself is quite enjoyable with a pleasant narrator. It doesn't get lost in mundane facts about fiscal policy (although it is abridged) as some have said. I would recommend it.

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  • Stephen J. Sink

    This was an enjoyable biography. I also liked the history of the Revolutionary War and early nation-building it contained. It filled in a number of gaps in my understanding, particularly about Hamilton's relations with Washington, Jefferson, Madison, etc. I came away, though, feeling like I knew quite a bit more information ABOUT Hamilton without having much connection to him as a person. The whole Burr duel fiasco was so frustrating to listen to. What a waste!

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