Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Alexander Hamilton (Jean Fritz)


Now I want to see the play! After I finished reading this, I spent time listening to the songs on YouTube from the musical.

This was a good short version of Alexander Hamilton's life. It was a quick read. The subtitle, 'The Outside' was a good one. He was an outsider because his parents never married, because his step brother took what he loved, was poor but found a way to get a good education and was a great leader in the early years of the US government. The musical starts off with:

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence impoverished, in squalor grow up to be a hero and a scholar?

I loved reading about how he loved to learn and how aggressive he was about it. He would get up early and read and then go walking and work on memorizing the information he had read by reciting it. People thought he was a little crazy when they saw him walking and talking to himself.

I enjoyed reading about how banks started. Many people thought they were akin to gambling and would rather be seen in a brothel than a bank....perhaps still a legit concern. :)

In the end, he died in a duel, just a few years after his son died the same way. I thought it was bizarrely dumb way for such a smart guy to die.

When I read books like this, I wish someone had written some similarly great stories about people in Canadian history!

Goodreads says:

Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America's most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an "outsider." He fought in the Revolution and became Washington's most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent.

Fritz's talent for bringing historical figures to life is at its best as she shares her fascination with this man of action who was honorable, ambitious, and fiercely loyal to his adopted country.

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