History

Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life (2016)

alexJeff Wilser, Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life New York: Three Rivers Press, 2016, 314 pp. $11.55

The Founding Father’s were men of principle and courage. In Jeff Wilser’s book, Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life, he argues that Hamilton is the most underrated Founding Father. Indeed, Alexander Hamilton is likely the most qualified man to serve as President, yet never filled the office.

Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life is cleverly divided into nine areas of discussion. These areas include self-improvement, career advancement, romance, money, style & etiquette, leisure (!), friends & family, leadership, office politics, and honor. The author reveals the heart of Hamilton in each area and carefully unfolds the pertinent aspects of his personality, core convictions, and weaknesses.

Wilser’s work is a mixture of history and suggestions for personal improvement. Sections of the book of really funny. Alexander Hamilton’s Guide to Life is a quick read. It is a fun read, to be sure. But it is also a serious historical work. Never intended to match the scholarship of books like Ron Chernow’s, Alexander Hamilton, Wilser’s writing clearly depends on Chernow’s scholarship. In that respect, the work under consideration is truly unique. It is a fitting introduction to Alexander Hamilton and will likely motivate readers to dig deeper into the life of this Founding Father.

The closing words demonstrate Wilser’s respect for the man:

After writing this book, I’m convinced that Alexander Hamilton is one of the main reasons – maybe the reason – that we are the United States, not just some united states. He’s the reason that we do more in America than just plant cabbage and herd sheep. With astonishing foresight that eclipsed every other Founding Father’s – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, all of them, Hamilton envisioned the future of the United States. Then he made it happen.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Biography · BOOK REVIEWS · History · Politics

DUEL WITH THE DEVIL – Paul Collins (2013)

hamiltonJonathan Edwards is the greatest theologian to plant his feet on American soil.   It should come as no surprise, then, when one learns about the able individuals that sprouted forth from Edwards family tree – physicians, lawyers, university presidents, and even a vice-president.  Aaron Burr was Thomas Jefferson’s vice-president, of course.  Burr was also Jonathan Edwards grandson.  So when I learned about a new book that chronicled the well-known showdown between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, I eagerly devoured the book.

Duel With the Devil is the story of the unlikely pairing of Burr and Hamilton, two attorney’s who combined their efforts to represent and defend a man convicted of murder.  Courtroom drama, political maneuvering, and personality conflicts weave throughout this tale.  Paul Collins is the author who has a gift for transporting readers to a historical setting – in this case, 18th century America.

While many are familiar with the duel between Hamilton and Burr, most are unaware of their work together on this murder case, which  consumes most of the book.

Students of American history will be pleasantly surprised by Collins work.  Here is a combination of a writer with John Grisham-like ability to tell a story and Dan Brown-like attention for detail.  The book is filled with historical tidbits but reads like a very fine novel.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Bloggingforbooks.org. I was not required to write a positive review.